General anesthesia is an acceptable choice for hip fracture surgery

Reg Anesth Pain Med. 2023 Aug;48(8):428-429. doi: 10.1136/rapm-2023-104454. Epub 2023 Mar 28.


The debate over the optimal type of anesthesia for hip fracture surgery continues to rage. While retrospective evidence in elective total joint arthroplasty has suggested a reduction in complications with neuraxial anesthesia, previous retrospective studies in the hip fracture population have been mixed. Recently, two multicenter randomized, controlled trials (REGAIN and RAGA) have been published that examined delirium, ambulation at 60 days, and mortality in patients with hip fractures who were randomized to spinal or general anesthesia. These trials enrolled a combined 2,550 patients and found that spinal anesthesia did not confer a mortality benefit nor a reduction in delirium or greater proportion who could ambulate at 60 days. While these trials were not perfect, they call into question the practice of telling patients that spinal anesthesia is a "safer" choice for their hip fracture surgery. We believe a risk/benefit discussion should take place with each patient and that ultimately the patient should choose his or her anesthesia type after being informed of the state of the evidence. General anesthesia is an acceptable choice for hip fracture surgery.

Keywords: Anesthesia, Local; Injections, Spinal; Postoperative Complications; REGIONAL ANESTHESIA.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Anesthesia, General / adverse effects
  • Anesthesia, Spinal* / adverse effects
  • Delirium* / complications
  • Delirium* / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Hip Fractures* / surgery
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Retrospective Studies