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Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2000;(2):CD000168.

Pre-operative traction for fractures of the proximal femur.

Author information

1
Orthopaedic Department, Peterborough District Hospital, Thorpe Road, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, UK, PE3 6DA. mjparker@globalnet.co.uk

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Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Pre-operative traction following an acute hip fracture remains standard practice in some hospitals.

OBJECTIVES:

To evaluate the effects of traction applied to the injured limb prior to surgery for a fractured hip. Different methods of applying traction (skin or skeletal) were considered.

SEARCH STRATEGY:

We searched the Cochrane Musculoskeletal Injuries Group trials register, MEDLINE (1983 to August 1999), CINAHL (1982 to July 1999), EMBASE (1980 to September 1999), CENTRAL (Issue 4, 1999 of The Cochrane Library) and bibliographies of trial reports. Date of the most recent search: September 1999.

SELECTION CRITERIA:

All randomised or quasi-randomised trials comparing either skin or skeletal traction with no traction, or skin with skeletal traction for patients with an acute hip fracture prior to surgery.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS:

Both reviewers independently assessed trial quality, using a nine item scale, and extracted data. Additional information was sought from all trialists. Wherever appropriate and possible, the data are presented graphically.

MAIN RESULTS:

Five randomised trials, mainly of moderate quality, involving a total of 635 predominantly elderly patients, were identified and included in the review. The review has been updated twice to include additional and new data from two of the studies. The availability of this additional data resulted in no important change in the results nor conclusions. The four trials which compared traction with no traction found no evidence of benefit from traction, either in the relief of pain, ease of fracture reduction or quality of fracture reduction at time of surgery. One of these trials included both skin and skeletal traction groups. This trial and one other which compared skeletal traction with skin traction found no important differences between these two methods, although the initial application of skeletal traction was noted as being more painful and most costly.

REVIEWER'S CONCLUSIONS:

From the evidence available, the routine use of traction (either skin or skeletal) prior to surgery for a hip fracture does not appear to have any benefit. Where a policy of general or selective application of traction exists, the choice of method must remain a decision based on evaluation of the individual patient. Further, high quality trials would be required to confirm or refute the absence of benefits of traction.

PMID:
10796311
DOI:
10.1002/14651858.CD000168
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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