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Improper Flu Shot Causes Injury
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Improper Flu Shot Causes Injury

Is it probable that an improperly administered flu shot given near the acromion process high on the deltoid could cause bursitis and a torn rotator cuff? If so, could you direct me to relevant articles or other research so that I may show my doctor who was more interested in performing surgery than opining on causation?
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Avatar_dr_m_tn
Hello,

If a vaccination is given in the upper third of the deltoid, it is theoretically possible that the injection needle and injectate could reach the subdeltoid bursa and possible result in a bursitis and induce an inflammatory response. It is highly unlikely that the vaccination would result in a rotator cuff tear.

There is an article that reports two cases and the article was published in the journal, Vaccine, in 2007.

Vaccine. 2007 Jan 8;25(4):585-7. Epub 2006 Sep 8.
Vaccination-related shoulder dysfunction.
Bodor M, Montalvo E.

Queen of the Valley Hospital, Napa, CA 94558, USA.
Abstract
We present two cases of shoulder pain and weakness following influenza and pneumococcal vaccine injections provided high into the deltoid muscle. Based on ultrasound measurements, we hypothesize that vaccine injected into the subdeltoid bursa caused a periarticular inflammatory response, subacromial bursitis, bicipital tendonitis and adhesive capsulitis. Resolution of symptoms followed corticosteroid injections to the subacromial space, bicipital tendon sheath and glenohumeral joint, followed by physical therapy. We conclude that the upper third of the deltoid muscle should not be used for vaccine injections, and the diagnosis of vaccination-related shoulder dysfunction should be considered in patients presenting with shoulder pain following a vaccination.

I hope that this information is helpful to you.

•~ Dr. Parks

This answer is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice. The information presented in this posting is for patients’ education only. As always, I encourage you to see your personal physician for further evaluation of your individual case.
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Philip D Parks, MD, MPH, MOccH, F...Blank
Cambridge Health Alliance, Harvard Medical School
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