Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

BACKGROUND: Hip fractures are a major healthcare problem, presenting a considerable challenge and burden to individuals and healthcare systems. The number of hip fractures globally is rising rapidly. The majority of intracapsular hip fractures are treated surgically. OBJECTIVES: To assess the relative effects (benefits and harms) of all surgical treatments used in the management of intracapsular hip fractures in older adults, using a network meta-analysis of randomised trials, and to generate a hierarchy of interventions according to their outcomes. SEARCH METHODS: We searched CENTRAL, MEDLINE, Embase, Web of Science, and five other databases in July 2020. We also searched clinical trials databases, conference proceedings, reference lists of retrieved articles and conducted backward-citation searches. SELECTION CRITERIA: We included randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and quasi-RCTs comparing different treatments for fragility intracapsular hip fractures in older adults. We included total hip arthroplasties (THAs), hemiarthroplasties (HAs), internal fixation, and non-operative treatments. We excluded studies of people with hip fracture with specific pathologies other than osteoporosis or resulting from high-energy trauma. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Two review authors independently assessed studies for inclusion. One review author completed data extraction which was checked by a second review author. We collected data for three outcomes at different time points: mortality and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) - both reported within 4 months, at 12 months, and after 24 months of surgery, and unplanned return to theatre (at end of study follow-up). We performed a network meta-analysis (NMA) with Stata software, using frequentist methods, and calculated the differences between treatments using risk ratios (RRs) and standardised mean differences (SMDs) and their corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CIs). We also performed direct comparisons using the same codes. MAIN RESULTS: We included 119 studies (102 RCTS, 17 quasi-RCTs) with 17,653 participants with 17,669 intracapsular fractures in the review; 83% of fractures were displaced. The mean participant age ranged from 60 to 87 years and 73% were women.  After discussion with clinical experts, we selected 12 nodes that represented the best balance between clinical plausibility and efficiency of the networks: cemented modern unipolar HA, dynamic fixed angle plate, uncemented first-generation bipolar HA, uncemented modern bipolar HA, cemented modern bipolar HA, uncemented first-generation unipolar HA, uncemented modern unipolar HA, THA with single articulation, dual-mobility THA, pins, screws, and non-operative treatment. Seventy-five studies (with 11,855 participants) with data for at least two of these treatments contributed to the NMA. We selected cemented modern unipolar HA as a reference treatment against which other treatments were compared. This was a common treatment in the networks, providing a clinically appropriate comparison. In order to provide a concise summary of the results, we report only network estimates when there was evidence of difference between treatments. We downgraded the certainty of the evidence for serious and very serious risks of bias and when estimates included possible transitivity, particularly for internal fixation which included more undisplaced fractures. We also downgraded for incoherence, or inconsistency in indirect estimates, although this affected few estimates. Most estimates included the possibility of benefits and harms, and we downgraded the evidence for these treatments for imprecision.  We found that cemented modern unipolar HA, dynamic fixed angle plate and pins seemed to have the greatest likelihood of reducing mortality at 12 months. Overall, 23.5% of participants who received the reference treatment died within 12 months of surgery. Uncemented modern bipolar HA had higher mortality than the reference treatment (RR 1.37, 95% CI 1.02 to 1.85; derived only from indirect evidence; low-certainty evidence), and THA with single articulation also had higher mortality (network estimate RR 1.62, 95% CI 1.13 to 2.32; derived from direct evidence from 2 studies with 225 participants, and indirect evidence; very low-certainty evidence). In the remaining treatments, the certainty of the evidence ranged from low to very low, and we noted no evidence of any differences in mortality at 12 months.  We found that THA (single articulation), cemented modern bipolar HA and uncemented modern bipolar HA seemed to have the greatest likelihood of improving HRQoL at 12 months. This network was comparatively sparse compared to other outcomes and the certainty of the evidence of differences between treatments was very low. We noted no evidence of any differences in HRQoL at 12 months, although estimates were imprecise. We found that arthroplasty treatments seemed to have a greater likelihood of reducing unplanned return to theatre than internal fixation and non-operative treatment. We estimated that 4.3% of participants who received the reference treatment returned to theatre during the study follow-up. Compared to this treatment, we found low-certainty evidence that more participants returned to theatre if they were treated with a dynamic fixed angle plate (network estimate RR 4.63, 95% CI 2.94 to 7.30; from direct evidence from 1 study with 190 participants, and indirect evidence). We found very low-certainty evidence that more participants returned to theatre when treated with pins (RR 4.16, 95% CI 2.53 to 6.84; only from indirect evidence), screws (network estimate RR 5.04, 95% CI 3.25 to 7.82; from direct evidence from 2 studies with 278 participants, and indirect evidence), and non-operative treatment (RR 5.41, 95% CI 1.80 to 16.26; only from indirect evidence). There was very low-certainty evidence of a tendency for an increased risk of unplanned return to theatre for all of the arthroplasty treatments, and in particular for THA, compared with cemented modern unipolar HA, with little evidence to suggest the size of this difference varied strongly between the arthroplasty treatments. AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: There was considerable variability in the ranking of each treatment such that there was no one outstanding, or subset of outstanding, superior treatments. However, cemented modern arthroplasties tended to more often yield better outcomes than alternative treatments and may be a more successful approach than internal fixation. There is no evidence of a difference between THA (single articulation) and cemented modern unipolar HA in the outcomes measured in this review. THA may be an appropriate treatment for a subset of people with intracapsular fracture but we have not explored this further.

Original publication




Journal article


Cochrane database syst rev

Publication Date