Predicting Complications After Surgical Repair for Hip Fracture

May 28, 2014
Jeannette Y. Wick, RPh, MBA, FASCP

Surgical Rounds®, May 2014,

When it comes to hospital admissions, hip fractures outnumber all other orthopedic injuries, with more than 300,000 Americans breaking a hip annually and requiring 24-hour care post-surgery.

When it comes to hospital admissions, hip fractures outnumber all other orthopedic injuries, with more than 300,000 Americans breaking a hip annually and requiring 24-hour care post-surgery.

A new study conducted in the United Kingdom — where concerns about hip fracture are similar to those in the United States — has uncovered the risk factors for complications following surgical repair, the timeframes of when complications occurred, and patient mortality.

By prospectively collecting data on 795 patients admitted with hip fractures between July 2007 and June 2008, the authors identified all surgical and non-surgical complications, re-operation for any cause, and mortality within 4 years after the procedure.

According to the researchers, 55 (7%) of the hip fracture patients developed a surgical complication that required further intervention in the follow-up period. Those with higher risk for complications were younger, smoked, and had undergone a procedure involving cannulated screw fixation, as the authors found mechanical failure related to cannulated screws was associated with a 30.9% rate of re-operation. However, surgical complications were not associated with higher mortality rates.

Among the overall study population, 21.8% had post-operative medical complications, and 78.5% of those patients died within 4 years, the investigators concluded.