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INTRODUCTION: This study aims to determine, by outcome analysis, the appropriateness of current criteria employed to select patients for total hip arthroplasty (THA) as the primary treatment for displaced intracapsular hip fracture (DICHF). This study is intended to inform prospective randomised controlled trials investigating the efficacy of THA as a primary treatment. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Contemporary THA eligibility criteria were derived from recent publications relating to pre-fracture residence, mobility and independence. Outcome data were analysed for 96 patients (19% of 506 consecutive patients with DICHF between March 2003 and February 2005) who fulfilled those criteria. The variables analysed included age, gender, co-existing injuries, co-morbidities, social circumstances, mobility, independence, delay to surgery, readmission and death. The 96 patients included in the study were followed for 3 years. The primary outcome was the combined achievement of home or warden-assisted accommodation at 3 months, no patient readmission within 6 weeks of discharge and survival to 1 year. Secondary outcome was survival to 3 years. RESULTS: At 3 months, 86 patients (90%) had returned home, three (3.1%) required nursing or residential home placement, four (4.2%) were still resident in a community hospital and three (3.1%) had died. A total of ten patients failed to return to their own home. Eight patients (8.3%) were readmitted within 6 weeks. At 1 year, eight patients (8.3%) had died; by 3 years, the mortality rate was 25%. Patients not achieving return to home were older (84.8 years vs. 79.7 years, p = 0.19), prior to fracture weremore likely to use a walking aid (odds ratio [OR] 2.35) or required home support (OR 1.74). The number of co-morbidities was not an association. Backward selection applied to the above data produced an OR of 1.12 (confidence interval [CI] 1.01-1.21) for age as a variable in patients successfully discharged home, so that for each increase in age by year, the odds of home not being the final destination increased by 12%. These factors were also reflected in the patients requiring readmission within 6 weeks from discharge. CONCLUSIONS: If maintaining a high level of activity and independence is the expectation in patients considered for THA for DICHFs, then current selection criteria appear to be appropriate in identifying those capable of returning home, remaining independent and surviving to 1 year compared to the whole DICHF population. With a 75% 3-year survival, the postulated benefit of THA will not be realised in many patients and this needs to be considered. Cost-effectiveness trials are required before broad practice change occurs.

Original publication




Journal article


Eur j trauma emerg surg

Publication Date





Arthroplasty, Hip fracture, Intracapsular, Outcome, Subcapital