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Arch Intern Med. 1997 Mar 10;157(5):513-20.

What is the role of timing in the surgical and rehabilitative care of community-dwelling older persons with acute hip fracture?

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Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Service, Durham Veterans Administration Medical Center, NC, USA.

Erratum in

  • Arch Intern Med 1997 Jul 14;157(13):1444.



To determine the relationship of surgical repair of acute hip fracture within 2 days of hospital admission, followed by more than 5 sessions per week of physical and occupational therapy (PT/OT), to outcomes after acute hip fracture.


Comparison of hip fracture outcomes via secondary analysis of data obtained by retrospective medical record review according to timing of surgical repair and frequency of PT/OT, adjusted for patient, medical care, and hospital characteristics.


The study included the medical records of 1880 elderly Medicare recipients admitted from the community to 284 acute care hospitals in 5 states during 1981 and 1982 or 1985 and 1986 with a primary diagnosis of acute hip fracture who underwent surgical repair and received PT/OT.




The postoperative day when ambulation first occurred, the length of hospital stay, and return to the community.


Earlier surgical repair was associated with a shorter length of hospital stay (5 fewer days, P < .001) without a statistically significant increase in medical complications. High frequency PT/OT was associated with earlier ambulation (odds ratio [OR], 1.76; 95% confidence limits [CL], 1.50, 2.07). Patients who ambulated earlier [corrected] had shorter lengths of stay (6.5 fewer days, P < .001), were more likely to return to the community (OR, 1.45; 95% CL, 1.16, 1.81), and had better 6-month survival (OR, 2.8; 95% CL, 2.06, 3.88), and patients younger than 85 years had fewer in-hospital complications (11% vs 4%, P < .001).


Surgical repair within the first 2 days of hospitalization and more than 5 PT/OT sessions per week were associated with better health outcomes in a nationally representative sample of elderly patients with hip fracture.

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