Early and ultra-early surgery in hip fracture patients improves survival

Injury. 2013 Jun;44(6):726-9. doi: 10.1016/j.injury.2012.08.025. Epub 2012 Sep 23.


Background: Hip fracture is a common injury with associated high mortality. Recent drives by the Department of Health have sought to prioritise these patients' care. In April 2010, the Best Practice Tariff was introduced in England and Wales. This offers financial incentives to institutions that provide holistic care and surgery within 36h for hip fracture patients. The England and Wales National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) published its first guidance on hip fracture management in June 2011, and emphasised the need for surgery on the day or day after admission. In spite of the emphasis placed on this injury, the predictors of in-hospital mortality remain ill-defined. In particular the effect of the timing of surgery remains contentious.

Objective: To address the issues raised by NICE around surgical timing and examine whether surgery before a 36h watershed improves survival. In addition, to examine survival outcomes for each 12h watershed following admission.

Materials and methods: Prospectively collected data on 2056 patients presenting to our unit with hip fractures between February 2008 and May 2011 were retrospectively reviewed. Multivariate regression analysis was used to correct for confounders, and so determine the effect of various parameters on in-patient mortality.

Results: Age (p<0.0001), male-gender (p<0.0001), source of admission (p<0.05), ASA-grade (p<0.0001) and delay of surgery (p<0.01) were associated with an increased risk of in-hospital mortality. The adjusted odds of in-hospital mortality were 1.58 (p<0.05) times higher in those undergoing surgery after 36h compared to surgery before this time. Early surgery (within 24h) resulted in reduced in-hospital mortality when compared to the 36h watershed. Similarly ultra-early surgery (within 12h) was even better still (adjusted odds ratio 3.9 p<0.05).

Conclusions: Expeditious surgery is associated with improved patient survival. Other predictors of in-hospital mortality include age, gender, in-hospital fracture and ASA-grade. Ultra-early surgery (within 12h) reduces risk of in-hospital mortality.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • England / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Hip Fractures / mortality*
  • Hip Fractures / surgery*
  • Hospital Mortality / trends
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medical Records
  • Middle Aged
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Survival Analysis
  • Time Factors
  • Wales / epidemiology