Background: Although more than 1200 hip fracture repairs are performed in United States Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals annually, little is known about the relationship between perioperative care and short-term outcomes for veterans with hip fracture. The purpose of the present study was to test whether perioperative care impacts thirty-day outcomes, with patient characteristics being taken into account.
Methods: A national sample of 5683 community-dwelling male veterans with an age of sixty-five years or older who had been hospitalized for the operative treatment of a hip fracture at one of 108 Veterans Administration hospitals between 1998 and 2003 was identified from the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program data set. Operative care characteristics were assessed in relation to thirty-day outcomes (mortality, complications, and readmission to a Veterans Administration facility for inpatient care).
Results: A surgical delay of four days or more after admission was associated with a higher adjusted mortality risk (odds ratio, 1.29; 95% confidence interval, 1.02 to 1.61) but a reduced risk of readmission (odds ratio, 0.70; 95% confidence interval, 0.54 to 0.91). Compared with spinal or epidural anesthesia, general anesthesia was related to a significantly higher risk of both mortality (odds ratio, 1.27; 95% confidence interval, 1.01 to 1.55) and complications (odds ratio, 1.33; 95% confidence interval, 1.15 to 1.53). The type of procedure was not significantly associated with outcome after controlling for other variables in the model. However, a higher American Society of Anesthesiologists Physical Status Classification (ASA class) was associated with worse thirty-day outcomes.
Conclusions: In addition to recognizing the importance of patient-related factors, we identified operative factors that were related to thirty-day surgical outcomes. It will be important to investigate whether modifying operative factors, such as reducing surgical delays to less than four days, can directly improve the outcomes of hip fracture repair.