No Time to Hesitate Before Hip Surgery

Fractured hip surgery delays may increase long term risks

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D

(RxWiki News) Older adults who take a bad fall or blow to the hip might need to act quickly. If the hip's fractured, there's no time to delay.

A study recently presented at a conference found that delaying surgery to treat a fractured hip more than two days increased the odds of dying by about 10 percent.

These findings shed light on how hip surgical delay and long-term mortality are linked, according to researchers.

"Broken bone? Seek care immediately."

Previous studies have illustrated an increased risk for death after sustaining a fracture in the hip, but little was known on how a delay in surgery affects that rate.

The study, led by Patrick Haentjens, from the Universitair Ziekenhuis Brussel in Belgium, investigated whether delayed hip surgery was linked with long-term mortality in older patients.

Researchers looked at nine long-term studies from databases based in the US, Europe, Israel, Taiwan and Brazil that were published through December 2012. The studies involved more than 32,300 patients with hip fractures who were followed between one and 16 years.

Researchers tracked how long surgeries were delayed and whether any deaths occurred within a year after surgery. They also took patients' age, gender and any other illnesses into account.

The chance of dying from all causes increased 10 percent among patients who had a 25- to 48-hour delay before surgery for their hip fracture compared to those with no delay, researchers found.

The chances increased another 2 percent for patients who had a 49- to 96-hour delay. For patients who had a delay of more than four days, the chance of dying went up 25 percent.

"In older patients with hip fracture, surgical delay of more than 48 hours is significantly and independently associated with increased long-term mortality even after adjusting for age, sex, and comorbid conditions," researchers wrote in their report.

The study was presented April 22 at the European Congress on Osteoporosis & Osteoarthritis in Rome, Italy.

One of the authors received research support from Novartis, Servier, Warner and Chilcott, which funded the study.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
April 27, 2013
Last Updated:
August 14, 2013