September 14, 2010

Early Surgery After Hip Fractures Lowers Mortality

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Performing early surgery on elderly patients who have suffered hip fractures has been shown to reduce the risk of death by 19 percent.

Hip fractures are associated with a mortality rate of 14 percent to 36 percent in the year following the fracture and can negatively affect a patient's independence and quality of life. Current guidelines recommend surgery within 24 hours of the break, although some physicians favor delays to provide more time to prepare the patient and to lessen the risk of complications.

Researchers from McMaster University and the University of Toronto sought to determine the effect of early versus delayed surgery on death and postoperative complications. They looked at 16 observational studies with a total of 13,478 patients aged 60 years and older. They found that surgery before 24 to 72 hours reduced the risk of death and possibly lowered the risk of postoperative pneumonia and pressure sores.

Dr. Mohit Bhandari, McMaster University and coauthors were quoted as saying, "Based on current evidence, surgery conducted before 24-72 hours is associated with reduced mortality and certain postoperative complications in elderly hip fracture patients."

SOURCE:  Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ), September 13, 2010