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Injury. 2004 Feb;35(2):114-20.

Post-operative mortality related to waiting time for hip fracture surgery.

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Department of Orthopaedics and Trauma, University of Malta Medical school, Malta.


In this retrospective study, we looked at the difference in 1 year mortality between two groups of patients who were operated for fracture of the hip.


In cohort 1, 72% of the patients underwent surgery on the same day of admission, 15% of the patients were operated on the next day, the remaining 13% of the patients waited more than 1 day for surgery. The mean waiting time was 0.47 day. The percentage of patients who were operated on the same day of admission in cohort 2 was 18%. Sixty-nine percent of the patients had to wait 1 day before they were operated and 13% waited 2 days or more. The average waiting time was 1.01 days. The date of death for both the 166 patients in cohort 1 and the 197 patients in cohort 2, was obtained from the national mortality register and the 1 year mortality was calculated. These two groups of patients were from separate 12 month periods and the operations performed were either Dynamic Hip Screw (DHS) or hemiarthroplasty. The two groups were comparable in gender, age distribution and the types of operations.


There was an increase of 10.1% (P<0.025, chi(2), 1 d.f.; 95% CI 1.7-18.5) in the mortality of patients in cohort 2. The mortality data of the two cohorts was also analysed after dividing the patients into three groups according to their age. A statistically significant increase in mortality of 16.9% in patients over 80 years of age in cohort 2 was found. The difference in mortality was still statistically significant when only patients over 80 years of age and having a DHS operation were compared. Total mortality at 2 years after the operation was the same in the two cohorts. Mortality rate for patients in cohort 2 was less than that for cohort 1 patients during the second post-operative year.


This study shows that survival at 1 year is better when patients who are medically fit for surgery are operated on the same day of admission. This survival advantage is more pronounced for patients who are over 80 years of age.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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