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Timing Of Hip Fracture Surgery Has Major Impact On Patient Outcomes

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Results from a controlled trial carried out by a team of Canadian researchers show that the timing of surgery for hip fractures in elderly people may have a substantial impact on the outcome for patients. According to the researchers from McMaster University, early intervention for a fractured hip helps patients recover better.

Fractured hips are associated with bleeding and pain that forces the patient to remain immobilised. This can result in medical complications in people about to undergo surgery and could even lead to death or admission to long-term care.

In many cases, people about to have an operation for a fractured hip are forced to wait 24 hours or more due to lengthy preoperative medical investigation procedures or a shortage of operating theatres. In order to identify whether the speed of surgery could affect the outcomes for people with fractured hips, the researchers recruited 60 people with the condition aged 45 years or older who needed to undergo an operation on a weekday during daytime working hours. The patients were divided into two groups, with 30 volunteers receiving accelerated care and the other 30 receiving standard care.

According to the results, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ), the average time between diagnosis with fracture and clearance for surgery was 1.5 hours, while the average wait time in the control group was 3.4 hours. From diagnosis to surgery, the mean time in the accelerated care group was six hours and in the standard care group it was 24.2 hours.

The results from the study are encouraging, since they confirm that accelerated surgery can significantly improve outcomes in patients, the trial´s co-principal investigator Dr Mohit Bhandari commented. A full-scale trial is planned to be conducted in 2014.