Operative Fixation of Hip Fractures in Nonagenarians: Is It Safe?

J Arthroplasty. 2020 Nov;35(11):3180-3187. doi: 10.1016/j.arth.2020.06.005. Epub 2020 Jun 9.


Background: With the shift in hip fracture epidemiology toward older individuals as well as the shift in demographics toward nonagenarians, it is important to understand the outcomes of treatment for these patients.

Methods: Geriatric patients (≥65 years old) who underwent surgery for hip fracture were identified in the 2005-2017 National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database and stratified into 2 age groups: <90 and ≥90 years old (nonagenarians). Preoperative and procedural characteristics were compared. Multivariate regressions were used to compare risk for complications and 30-day readmissions. Risk factors for serious adverse events (SAEs) and 30-day mortality in nonagenarians were characterized.

Results: This study included 51,327 <90 year olds and 15,798 nonagenarians. Overall rate of SAEs in nonagenarians was 19.89% while in <90 year olds was 14.80%. Multivariate analysis revealed higher risk for blood transfusion (relative risk [RR] = 1.21), death (RR = 1.74), pneumonia (RR = 1.24), and cardiac complications (RR = 1.33) in nonagenarians (all P < .001). Risk factors for SAEs in nonagenarians include American Society of Anesthesiologists ≥3, dependent functional status, admitted from nursing home/chronic/intermediate care, preoperative hypoalbuminemia, and male gender (all P < .05), but not time to surgery (P > .05). In fact, increased time to surgery in nonagenarians was associated with lower risk of 30-day mortality (RR = 0.90, P = .048).

Conclusion: Overall complication risk after hip fracture fixation in nonagenarians remains relatively low but higher than their younger counterparts. Interestingly, since time to surgery was not associated with adverse outcomes in nonagenarians, the commonly accepted 48-hour operative window may not be critical to this population. Additional time for preoperative medical optimization in this vulnerable population appears prudent.

Keywords: American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program; geriatrics; hip fracture; nonagenarian; postoperative adverse events; readmission.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Fracture Fixation
  • Hip Fractures* / epidemiology
  • Hip Fractures* / surgery
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Patient Readmission
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors