THE PROGRESSIVE COMPLEX NATURE OF ROTATOR CUFF TEAR ARTHROPATHY
Keywords:Rotator cuff tear arthropathy, Ecchymoses, Instability, Hemarthrosis, Vascular erosion, Acromial artery
A small number of patients with a chronic rotator cuff tear appear to progress to the clinical entity known as rotator cuff tear arthropathy (RCTA). There are various theories concerning the etiology and progression to account for the findings associated with this clinical condition. A broad spectrum of pathology may be present. Progressive destruction of soft tissues, cartilage, and bone leading to increasing shoulder disability has been documented. Significant complications such as instability or bleeding are rarely associated with RCTA. We present an extreme case of RCTA with extensive destruction and unusual shoulder pathology that has not been previously reported. Of even more concern was the finding of acute and subacute hemorrhage from major vascular erosion requiring emergency treatment. There appears to be little or no limits to the extent of pathology in some individuals with this condition.
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