Ultrasound-guided nerve blocks for intracapsular and extracapsular hip fractures

Am J Emerg Med. 2016 Mar;34(3):586-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ajem.2015.12.016. Epub 2015 Dec 14.


Objectives: To compare pain relief between patients with intracapsular and extracapsular hip fractures who received an ultrasound-guided femoral nerve block (USFNB).

Design: A multicenter, prospective, randomized, clinical trial.

Setting: The study was conducted in the emergency departments of 3 academic hospitals located in New York City.

Subjects: Patients aged ≥60 years presenting to the emergency department with hip fracture.

Methods: A subgroup analysis from a larger data set was conducted of patients with intracapsular and extracapsular hip fractures who received an USFNB. We compared pain scores at baseline and then at 2 and 3 hours after the nerve block was performed, and also assessed pain relief at 2 and 3 hours.

Results: Seventy-seven patients were randomized to receive USFNB, of which 68 had follow-up data at 2 and 3 hours and were included in the data analysis. Thirty-one were diagnosed with intracapsular and 37 with extracapsular hip fractures. In both groups, reductions in pain scores were clinically and statistically significant. In the intracapsular group, mean pain scores decreased from 6.23 to 3.81 (P < .0001) at 2 hours and from 6.23 to 3.87 (P < .0001) at 3 hours. In the extracapsular group, mean pain scores decreased from 6.62 to 3.89 (P < .0001) at 2 hours and from 6.62 to 3.46 (P < .0001) at 3 hours. These differences were similar between the extracapsular and intracapsular groups at 2 hours (P = .92) and at 3 hours (P = .58), thus demonstrating similar reductions in pain in the 2 groups. The differences in pain relief between the intracapsular and extracapsular groups were also similar: 1.61 (confidence interval [CI], 1.14-2.08) vs 1.35 (CI, 0.96-1.75) at 2 hours (P = .39) and 1.68 (CI, 1.21-2.15) vs 1.38 (CI, 0.89-1.87) at 3 hours (P = .38).

Conclusion: Ultrasound-guided femoral nerve block was equally effective in reducing pain for patients with both intracapsular and extracapsular hip fractures.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Academic Medical Centers
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Analgesics / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Femoral Nerve*
  • Hip Fractures / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nerve Block / methods*
  • New York City
  • Pain Management / methods*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ultrasonography, Interventional*


  • Analgesics