When does hip fracture surgery fail?

Jerry Tsang, S. A. Aitken, S. K. Golay, R. K. Silverwood, L. C. Biant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Hip fractures remain the most common orthopaedic injury requiring hospital admission. Failed surgery for any cause carries a higher morbidity, mortality, and healthcare-related cost. The aims of this study were to determine risk factors for surgical complications of hip fracture surgery, when they occurred and their effect on mortality.

Patients and methods: From a prospectively collected consecutive database of 795 hip fractures admitted between July 2007 and June 2008, all surgical and non-surgical complications were identified as well as re-operation for any cause and mortality in the 4 years since surgery.

Results: Fifty-five (6.9%) patients were found to have developed a surgical complication requiring further intervention. Risk factors included younger age, smoking and cannulated screw fixation. Cannulated screw fixation was associated with a 30.9% rate of re-operation. Post-operative medical complication occurred in 21.8%. It was associated with a 78.5% mortality at 4 years with a median time to mortality of 58 days (95% CI 0-120 days).

Conclusions: Mechanical failure was the most common reason for cannulated screw re-operation. Hip hemiarthroplasty most commonly failed by infection. Inter-trochanteric and sub-trochanteric fracture fixation had very low failure rates. Post-operative medical complications, but not surgical complications, were associated with a higher mortality rate. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1059-1065
Number of pages7
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2014


  • Hip fractures
  • Complications
  • Elderly
  • COST

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