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BACKGROUND: Distal femoral fractures are a source of considerable morbidity and best treatment is currently uncertain. The Trial of Acute Femoral Fracture Fixation (TrAFFix) is a randomised, parallel-group feasibility study designed to inform the design of a later, definitive clinical trial comparing intramedullary nails and locking plates for the treatment of distal femoral fractures. METHODS/DESIGN: Patients aged 50 years and older with a femoral fracture within the distal two Müller squares are potentially eligible for inclusion. Participants are randomly allocated to receive fixation with either an intramedullary nail or a distal locking plate. Measurements (EuroQol 5 Dimensions, Dementia Quality of Life, Disability Rating Index) are collected at baseline, 6 weeks and 4 months. The recruitment rate will be assessed across seven participating centres over a total of 52 centre-months which is expected after 10 months of recruitment. Objectives are - feasibility phase, to assess recruitment rate and completion rate of the primary outcome measure; process evaluation, to assess the generalisability and likely success of a future trial; definitive trial, quantify and draw inferences on observed differences in health-related quality of life at 4 months between the study intervention groups (nail versus plate). A favourable opinion was granted by the Wales Research Ethics Committee (16/WA/0225), study-wide NHS approval was given by the Health Research Authority (IRAS 206745), and participating NHS trusts provided local approvals. This study was funded by the National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment (HTA 15/59/22). DISCUSSION: This is the protocol for a feasibility study conducted prior to any future definitive trial. The estimates of participant recruitment rate and proportion of data completion will be coupled with outputs from the process evaluation to make a final decision regarding feasibility TRIAL REGISTRATIONS: The study is registered with the National Institute for Health Research Portfolio (CPMS ID: 32536) and the ISRCTN registry ( ISRCTN92089567 ) on 26 May 2016.

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Femur, Fracture fixation, Randomised controlled trial, Bone Nails, Bone Plates, Clinical Protocols, England, Feasibility Studies, Female, Femoral Fractures, Fracture Fixation, Internal, Fracture Healing, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Quality of Life, Recovery of Function, Research Design, Time Factors, Treatment Outcome