No association between waiting time to surgery and mortality for healthier patients with hip fracture: a nationwide Swedish cohort of 59,675 patients

Acta Orthop. 2020 Aug;91(4):396-400. doi: 10.1080/17453674.2020.1754645. Epub 2020 Apr 24.


Background and purpose - Waiting time to surgery for patients with hip fractures and its potential association with mortality has been frequently studied with the hypothesis that longer waiting time is associated with adverse outcomes. However, despite numerous studies, there is no consensus regarding which time frames are appropriate, and whether some patients are more vulnerable to waiting than others. We explored the association between waiting time to surgery and short-term mortality and whether sex, age, surgical method, and comorbidity (ASA) modified this association.Patients and methods - This is a nationwide cohort study of 59,675 patients undergoing hip fracture surgery between January 1, 2013 and December 31, 2017 with a 4-month follow-up of mortality. Data were extracted from the Swedish Registry for Hip Fracture Patients and Treatment (RIKSHÖFT) and mortality was obtained from Statistics Sweden.Results - Unadjusted analyses revealed an association between waiting more than 24 hours for surgery and increased mortality, primarily for women. However, when stratifying for ASA grade, an association persisted only among patients with ASA 3 and 4. Furthermore, the absolute differences in mortality risk between those waiting less or longer than 24 hours were small. Age, fracture type, and surgical method did not modify the association between waiting time and mortality.Interpretation - This study suggests that there may be a need for new guidelines, which take into account the heterogeneity of the patient population.

MeSH terms

  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Hip Fractures / mortality
  • Hip Fractures / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Sweden / epidemiology
  • Time Factors
  • Waiting Lists / mortality*