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Increased complications in geriatric patients with a fracture of the hip whose postoperative weight-bearing is restricted: an analysis of 4918 patients.

AIMS: The aims of this study were to evaluate the incidence of postoperatively restricted weight-bearing and its association with outcome in patients who undergo surgery for a fracture of the hip.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: Patient aged > 60 years undergoing surgery for a hip fracture were identified in the 2016 National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP) Hip Fracture Targeted Procedure Dataset. Analysis of the effect of restricted weight-bearing on adverse events, delirium, infection, transfusion, length of stay, return to the operating theatre, readmission and mortality within 30 days postoperatively were assessed. Multivariate regression analysis was used to adjust for confounding demographic, comorbid and procedural characteristics.

RESULTS: Of the 4918 patients who met inclusion criteria, 3668 (63.53%) were allowed to weight-bear as tolerated postoperatively. Controlling for patient and procedural factors, multivariate odds of any adverse event, major adverse event, delirium, infection, transfusion, length of stay ≥ 75th percentile (six days) and mortality within 30 days were all higher in patients with weight-bearing restrictions. Notably, there were no differences for thromboembolic events, return to the operating theatre or readmission within 30 days between the groups.

CONCLUSION: Elderly patients with a fracture of the hip with postoperative weight-bearing restrictions have a significantly greater risk of developing most adverse events compared with those who are encouraged to weight-bear as tolerated. These findings emphasize the importance of immediate weight-bearing as tolerated to optimize the outcome in these frail patients; however nearly 25% of surgeons fail to meet this evidence-based guideline. Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2018;100-B:1377-84.

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