Are Intertrochanteric Fractures Evolving? Trends in the Elderly Population over a 10-Year Period

Clin Orthop Surg. 2022 Mar;14(1):13-20. doi: 10.4055/cios20204. Epub 2022 Feb 15.


Background: Intramedullary devices for the fixation of intertrochanteric fractures are increasing in usage and popularity. This reflects either a shift in adoption of new technology or intertrochanteric fractures becoming more complex or unstable. This trend was observed in our institution, hence we set out to investigate if this was concordant with an associated change in the demographics of the patients or in the morphology of the intertrochanteric fracture pattern over a 10-year period.

Methods: This is a retrospective cross-sectional comparison undertaken for the first 100 consecutive elderly patients with intertrochanteric fractures admitted to our tertiary institution over 3 yearly intervals, in each of the years 2004, 2007, 2010, and 2013. Fractures were radiologically classified via the Evans and AO classifications. Patient demographics such as age, ethnicity, and comorbidities and surgical data including time, type of fixation, time to surgery, and length of stay were collected via case note reviews to identify possible trends.

Results: The overall mean age was 80.5 years, with no statistically significant trend among age, sex, ethnicity, and comorbidities over the 10-year period. The main finding was a rise in the proportion of unstable intertrochanteric fractures. The proportion of such fractures was 30% in 2004, 42% in 2007, 47% in 2010, and 62% in 2013 (p < 0.001). Patients admitted for intertrochanteric fractures also experienced a shorter hospital length of stay and an increasing trend towards early fracture fixation (p < 0.001), with a greater usage of intramedullary nails in the treatment of such fractures (p < 0.001).

Conclusions: Intertrochanteric fractures in elderly patients have evolved into more complex fractures over the past ten years, despite there being no change in the age of the patients over the same duration. This increasing proportion of unstable intertrochanteric fractures has brought about a greater tendency to fix these fractures with intramedullary implants.

Keywords: Classification; Fracture fixation; Hip fracture; Intertrochanteric fractures.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Bone Nails
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Fracture Fixation, Intramedullary*
  • Hip Fractures* / diagnostic imaging
  • Hip Fractures* / epidemiology
  • Hip Fractures* / surgery
  • Humans
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome