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Ann R Coll Surg Engl. 2015 May;97(4):279-82. doi: 10.1308/003588415X14181254788809.

Outcome after conservatively managed intracapsular fractures of the femoral neck.

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University Hospital of North Midlands , UK.
George Eliot Hospital , UK.
Wrexham Maelor Hospital , UK.



In 2012, 2.6% of hip-fracture patients in the UK were treated conservatively. There is little data on outcome for these patients. However, one study demonstrated that though 30-day mortality is higher, mortality over the rest of the year is comparable with that in surgical groups. Therefore, we assessed conservatively managed patients in our unit.


Patients with intracapsular fractures of the femoral neck treated by conservative means between 2010 and 2012 inclusive were identified. Data were collected: American Society of Anaesthesiologists (ASA) grade, Nottingham Hip Fracture Score (NHFS), mobility, mortality (30 days and one year) and pain levels.


Thirty-two patients formed the study cohort. Mean age was 85.6 years. Median ASA grade was 4. Mortality at 30 days and one year was 31.3% and 56.3%, respectively. There was one case of pneumonia and one of infection. Pressure sores or venous thromboembolism were not documented. Three patients underwent surgery once their health improved. In general, mobility was decreased, but 30.8% of patients could mobilise with two aids or a frame. Only two cases had ongoing problems with pain.


Our data are similar to those published previously. Our patients were likely to have higher mortality data due to selection bias. Thirty-day mortality was significantly higher than the national average, but patients surviving 30 days had a prevalence of mortality similar to those managed by surgical means. Despite mobility decreasing from the pre-admission status, a considerable number of patients were free of pain and could mobilise. These data suggest that conservative management of intracapsular fractures of the femoral neck can produce acceptable results.


Conservative management; Intracapsular fracture; Mortality; Outcome; Pain control

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