Does the timing of surgery for proximal humeral fracture affect inpatient outcomes?

J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2014 Sep;23(9):1257-62. doi: 10.1016/j.jse.2014.03.010. Epub 2014 Jun 9.


Background: Delayed surgical treatment of hip fractures is associated with adverse medical outcomes, but it is unclear whether the same is true for proximal humeral fractures. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the relationship between surgical delay for proximal humeral fracture and inpatient adverse events, in-hospital death, prolonged postoperative stay, and nonroutine discharge.

Methods: Of the more than 70,000 patients with an operatively treated proximal humeral fracture identified in the Nationwide Inpatient Sample between 2008 and 2011, 87% underwent surgery within 2 days of admission and 13% underwent surgery 3 days or more after admission. Multivariable logistic regression analyses were performed to evaluate the effect of surgical delay on inpatient outcomes and to identify risk factors associated with late surgery.

Results: Surgery 3 days or more after admission for fracture of the proximal humerus had no influence on in-hospital death but was independently associated with inpatient adverse events (odds ratio [OR], 2.1; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.0-2.2), prolonged postoperative stay (OR, 1.7; 95% CI, 1.7-1.9), and increased nonroutine discharge (OR, 2.7; 95% CI, 2.6-2.9). Risk factors for surgery 3 days or more after admission included advanced age, male sex, Elixhauser comorbidity score, polytrauma, Hispanic race or black race, no insurance coverage, low household income, and weekend admission.

Conclusions: Even when comorbidities and complexity are controlled for, delaying surgery for proximal humeral fracture is likely to increase inpatient morbidity, postoperative length of stay, and nonroutine discharge. It appears that avoiding nonmedical delays is advantageous.

Keywords: Surgery; delay; discharge; epidemiology; mortality; outcomes; perioperative; proximal humeral fracture; risk factors.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Arthroplasty / adverse effects
  • Arthroplasty / statistics & numerical data
  • Databases, Factual
  • Female
  • Fracture Fixation, Internal / adverse effects
  • Fracture Fixation, Internal / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Shoulder Fractures / epidemiology*
  • Shoulder Fractures / surgery*
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States / epidemiology