High clinical utility of computed tomography compared to radiography in elderly patients with occult hip fracture after low-energy trauma

Emerg Radiol. 2012 Apr;19(2):135-9. doi: 10.1007/s10140-011-1009-9. Epub 2011 Dec 16.


To evaluate the clinical utility of computed tomography (CT) compared to radiography in evaluating suspect or missed hip fractures in elderly after low-energy trauma. One hundred ninety-three hip CT examinations performed in two trauma centers during 3 years of evaluation of clinically suspect or occult hip fracture within 24 h of negative or suspect radiography were retrospectively reviewed. Consensus CT diagnosis by three observers was compared to clinical outcome and in some cases also further imaging. All patients were elderly and had sustained a low-energy trauma. Eighty-four examinations revealed no fracture. Follow-up was uneventful but for two patients who had been operated. Thirty-nine of 41 cervical hip fractures were surgically or otherwise confirmed, two cases were not operated due to week-old trauma and moderate symptoms. Twenty-nine of 68 trochanteric fractures or avulsions were confirmed surgically. Computed tomography has a high clinical utility as it can detect nearly all clinically suspect but radiographically negative cervical hip fractures as well as most trochanteric fractures and avulsions. A negative CT is near-perfect in ruling out a hip fracture requiring surgery.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Fractures, Closed / diagnostic imaging
  • Hip Fractures / diagnostic imaging*
  • Hip Fractures / etiology
  • Hip Fractures / surgery
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tomography, Spiral Computed / methods*
  • Trauma Centers