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J Bone Joint Surg Br. 2010 Jun;92(6):835-41. doi: 10.1302/0301-620X.92B6.24463.

Does delay to theatre for medical reasons affect the peri-operative mortality in patients with a fracture of the hip?

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  • 1Princess Elizabeth Orthopaedic Centre, Exeter EX2 5DW, UK.


We have investigated how medical postponement, the time to surgery and the correction of medical abnormalities, according to McLaughlin criteria, before operation affected peri-operative mortality after fracture of the hip. From February to December 2007, in addition to core data, the Scottish Hip Fracture Audit collected information relating to surgical delay. Data were available for 4284 patients which allowed 30-day survival analysis to be performed. Multivariable logistic regression models were used to control for differences in case-mix. Patients with major clinical abnormalities were more likely to have a postponement and had a lower unadjusted 30-day survival. The time to operation and postponement were not associated with higher mortality after adjustment for case-mix. Correction of major clinical abnormalities before surgery improved the adjusted survival, but this improvement was not significant (p = 0.10). Postponement without correction of a medical abnormality before surgery was associated with a significantly lower (p = 0.006) 30-day adjusted survival. The possible benefits of postponement need to be weighed against prolonged discomfort for the patient and the possibility of the development of other complications.

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