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Delays In Hip Fracture Surgery Often Due To Medical Reasons | Daytona Beach Malpractice Attorney

Delays In Hip Fracture Surgery Often Due To Medical Reasons

A new study reveals the link between delayed surgery for hip fracture and negative outcomes is mostly explained by a patient’s medical condition that causes the delay.

Most doctors believe that a patient with a hip fracture should be operated on as soon as
possible and preferably within 24 hours. However, the evidence on whether early surgery
produces better outcomes is conflicting: Some studies support this belief, but others
do not.

Many previous studies have not acknowledged that surgery is often delayed because
patients have acute medical problems and that patients with these problems have bad
outcomes regardless of when surgery is done.

For this study, the researchers reasoned that delayed surgery might be associated with bad outcomes because acute medical problems cause both delays and bad outcomes, not because the delays themselves cause bad outcomes.

In this study, 2,250 consecutive elderly patients admitted to the hip fracture unit of a hospital in Madrid, Spain were observed. For each patient, the researchers counted the number of acute medical conditions on admission, measured the time from admission to surgery, determined the reasons for any delays, noted deaths during hospitalization, and determined how many complications occurred.

Median time to surgery was 72 hours. Lack of operating room availability (61 %) and acute medical problems (33 %) were the main reasons for delays longer than 48 hours. Overall, rates of hospital death and complications were 4 % and 46 %, respectively, but were 14% and 74% in clinically unstable patients.

Longer delays were associated with higher death rates and more complications, but when the researchers adjusted their results for acute medical conditions, these associations became very small and may not really exist. The exception was the association between longer delays to surgery and urinary tract infections, which remained after adjustment.

Researchers concluded that early surgery may be a better choice for patients with hip fracture and no acute medical conditions, but the optimal time for surgery in patients with acute medical conditions remains to be determined. The results of this study were published in the August issue of Annals of Internal Medicine.

For more on medical safety issues, see the library of articles by Daytona Beach medical malpractice attorney.

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