Introduction: We studied the prevalence of postoperative complications in a series of consecutive patients who received surgery for hip fractures in a major public hospital in Singapore. We also studied the predictors for the occurrence of complications and the impact of these complications on patient outcomes. Materials and Methods: A retrospective chart review of patients admitted with hip fracture, from March to November 2001, was carried out. Patients were classified as having postoperative complications if they developed any of the following conditions after surgery: dislocation of prosthesis, deep vein thrombosis, postoperative confusion, foot drop, stroke, cardiac arrhythmias or acute myocardial infarctions, urinary retention, urinary tract infection, pneumonia, wound infection and incident pressure sores. Results: Of the 180 patients studied, 60 developed postoperative complications. Significant predictors of complications after logistic regression included being of female gender [odds ratio (OR), 2.79; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.13 to 6.89] and pre-fracture mobility status (OR for independent ambulators 0.45; 95% CI, 0.23 to 0.87), but not the age of the patients. Postoperative complications significantly affected the length of stay within the acute hospital (beta coefficient, 6.42; 95% CI, 2.55 to 10.29), but were not associated with a decline in mobility status at 3 months post-fracture, eventual discharge destination or readmission within 1 year. Conclusion: Postoperative complications are common after surgery for hip fractures and result in significantly longer hospitalisation periods. Significant predictors for such complications include being of female gender and pre-fracture mobility. Age, in itself, does not result in a higher risk of complications and should not preclude older hip fracture patients from surgical management.
Hip fractures constitute a major health concern for older persons and are associated with significant morbidity and mortality, with 1-year mortality rates ranging from 14% to 36% in spite of advancements in anaesthesia, surgical techniques and nursing care.1,2 In addition, epidemiological studies have shown that the incidence of hip fractures has risen significantly amongst Asian countries and is anticipated to rise further with the rapid ageing of populations in these countries.3 In Singapore alone, the absolute numbers of hip fractures have shown a 40% increase within an 8-year period from 1991 to 1998. It is estimated that there may be a 2- to 3-fold increase in the number of hip fractures here by the year 2025.4
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