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Looking Back Improves Treatment of Hip Fractures

Posted on: 11/30/1999
In this study doctors from the School of Medicine at UCLA take a look at the results of hip fracture treatment in over 1,000 elderly patients. By looking at death rates, type of implants used, and steps to prevention, they hope to improve overall treatment results. Data was taken from 49 California hospitals to give an idea of results across different hospitals.

The authors gave a detailed report of many factors:
  • Location of fracture
  • Type of operation and anesthesia
  • Type of implant used
  • Use of plates, screws, or pins
  • Patient's age
  • Use of antibiotics to prevent infection
  • Prevention of blood clots
  • Death rates (in hospital, 30-days, six months)

    The researchers saw several important things when looking over the data from this large sample size. First the death rate increased over time from 1.7 percent (in-hospital) to five percent after 30 days. The death rate went up to 12 percent after six months. Patients who had antibiotics and blood clot prevention early were less likely to die. They also saw that a less expensive implant was just as good as the more expensive (bipolar) devices.

    The authors conclude by saying patients with hip fractures have better outcomes when proper preventive care is given. With the aging of America, this information is important. Many people are expected to have a hip fracture in the years ahead. Early prevention of infection and blood clots may be the key to reducing the death rate.

  • References:
    Jay R. Lieberman, MD, et al. The Treatment of Hip Fractures. In Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research. January 2006. No. 442. pp. 239-244.

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