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J Bone Joint Surg Br. 2009 Jul;91(7):922-7. doi: 10.1302/0301-620X.91B7.22446.

Length of stay, mortality, morbidity and delay to surgery in hip fractures.

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  • 1Orthopaedic Trauma Research Office, Vancouver General Hospital, 110-828 West 10th Avenue, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.


Our aim was to determine the effect of delay to surgery on the time to discharge, in-hospital death, the presence of major and minor medical complications and the incidence of pressure sores in patients with a fracture of the hip. All patients admitted to Vancouver General Hospital with this injury between 1998 and 2001 inclusive were identified from our trauma registry. A review of the case notes was performed to determine the delay in time from admission to surgery, age, gender, type of fracture and medical comorbidities. A time-to-event analysis was performed for length of stay. Additionally, a Cox proportional hazards model was used to determine the effect of delay to surgery on the length of stay while controlling for other pertinent confounding factors. Using logistical regression we determined the effect of delay to surgery on in-hospital death, medical complications and the presence of pressure sores, while controlling for confounding factors. Delay to surgery (p = 0.0255), comorbidity (p < 0.0001), age (p < 0.0001) and type of fracture (p = 0.0004) were all significant in the Cox proportional hazards model for increased time to discharge. Delay to surgery was not a significant predictor of in-hospital mortality. However, a delay of more than 24 hours was a significant predictor of a minor medical complication (odds ratio (OR) 1.53, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.05 to 2.22), while a delay of more than 48 hours was associated with an increased risk of a major medical complication (OR 2.21, 95% CI 1.01 to 4.34), a minor medical complication (OR 2.27, 95% CI 1.38 to 3.72) and of pressure sores (OR 2.29, 95% CI 1.19 to 4.40). Patients with a fracture of the hip should have surgery early to lessen the time to acute-care hospital discharge and to minimise the risk of complications.

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