Background: Intramedullary nailing is commonly recommended as the treatment of choice for transverse/reverse oblique trochanteric (AO/OTA type A3=intertrochanteric) and subtrochanteric fractures. However, only to a limited extent is this approach supported by superior results in well designed clinical trials, and the sliding hip screw (SHS) is still a frequently used implant for these fractures. The aim of the present study was to compare IM nails and SHS in the treatment of transverse/reverse oblique trochanteric and subtrochanteric fractures using data from the Norwegian Hip Fracture Register (NHFR).
Methods: Data on 2716 operations for acute transverse/reverse oblique trochanteric or subtrochanteric fractures were collected from the NHFR from 2005 to 2010. Surgeons reported patient characteristics and details from initial surgery and reoperations, and patients answered questionnaires about pain, satisfaction, and quality of life (EQ-5D) 4, 12, and 36 months postoperatively. Reoperation rates were calculated using Kaplan-Meier analyses. Primary outcome measures were pain (Visual Analogue Scale (VAS)), satisfaction (VAS), quality of life (EQ-5D), and reoperation rates at one year.
Results: The treatment groups were similar regarding age, gender, ASA-class, cognitive impairment, and preoperative EQ-5Dindex score. At one year reoperation rates were 6.4% and 3.8% for SHS and IM nails, respectively (p=0.011). Patients treated with SHS also had slightly more pain (VAS 30 vs. 27, p=0.037) and were less satisfied (VAS 31 vs. 36, p=0.003) compared to patients treated with IM nail. There was no statistically significant difference in the EQ-5Dindex score, but the mobility was significantly better for the IM nail group.
Conclusion: 12 months postoperatively patients with transverse/reverse oblique trochanteric and subtrochanteric fractures operated with a SHS had a higher reoperation rate compared to those operated with an IM nail. Small differences regarding pain, satisfaction, quality of life, and mobility were also in favour of IM nailing. Consequently, a change in our treatment strategy for these fractures could be considered.
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