The serum concentration of ascorbic acid was measured in 40 elderly patients with a recent hip fracture and compared to values measured in 102 home-living elderly. The concentrations were 37 +/- 22 mumol l-1 vs 50 +/- 29 mumol l-1 (p < 0.01). Among the patients admitted from home-living conditions and controls, 20 pairs could be matched with respect to age, sex and season for the test. Serum ascorbic acid concentration was significantly lower in the hip fracture patients (34 +/- 19 mumol l-1 vs 54 +/- 30 mumol l-1, p < 0.01). In the matched pairs, a seasonal variation in serum ascorbic acid concentration was found in the controls, but not in the hip fracture patients. As previous studies have found decreased concentrations of several nutritional factors in hip fracture patients, our findings might indicate that a reduced serum concentration of ascorbic acid could be a part of a general nutritional insufficiency in several patients with hip fracture.