Complications after hip fracture surgery: are they preventable?

E R Flikweert, K W Wendt, R L Diercks, G J Izaks, D Landsheer, M Stevens, I H F Reininga

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Surgery for hip fractures is frequently followed by complications that hinder the rehabilitation of patients. The aim of this study was to describe the incidence rate and type of complications, including mortality, after hip fracture surgery, and to identify the risk factors of these complications that may be amenable to prevention.

Prospective cohort study of all consecutive patients aged ae60 treated for a hip fracture at University Medical Center Groningen between July 2009 and June 2013. All patients were treated in a comprehensive multidisciplinary care pathway. Logistic regression analyses were used to investigate which variables were significant risk factors for the occurrence of complications. Additional analyses were conducted to investigate whether the independent variables were significant risk factors for several specific complications and mortality.

The study population consisted of 479 patients with a mean age of 78.4 (SD 9.5) years; 33% were men. The overall complication rate was 75%. Delirium was the complication seen most frequently (19%); the incidence of surgical complications was 9%. Most risk factors for complications were not preventable (high comorbidity rate, high age and dependent living situation). However, general anesthesia (OR 1.51; 95% CI 0.97-2.35) and delay in surgery (OR 3.16; 95% CI 1.43-6.97) may be risk factors that can potentially be prevented. Overall, the mortality risk was not higher in patients with a complication, but delirium and pneumonia were risk factors for mortality.

The overall complication rate after hip fracture surgery was high. Only few complications were potentially preventable.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)573-580
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Trauma and Emergency Surgery
Issue number4
Early online date9-Aug-2017
Publication statusPublished - Aug-2018


  • Hip fracture
  • Frail elderly
  • Complications

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