Hip fractures after falls in hospital: a retrospective observational cohort study.

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Hip fractures after falls in hospital: a retrospective observational cohort study.

Injury. 2009 Feb;40(2):201-4

Authors: Johal KS, Boulton C, Moran CG

OBJECTIVES: To compare the prevalence and characteristics of hip fractures sustained after inpatient falls (hospital subgroup) to those presenting with a fall in the community (control group). DESIGN: Retrospective observational cohort study. SETTING: University teaching hospital. PARTICIPANTS: 5879 hip fractures occurred over an 8-year period, 327 of these took place after a fall as a hospital inpatient. OUTCOME MEASURES: Comparison of 30-day and 1 year mortality, co-morbidities, length of post-fracture hospital stay, specific complication rates and cognitive function between the hospital and control group. Other specific data on those falling in hospital was also collected. RESULTS: There were significantly higher rates (p<0.001) of cerebrovascular, chronic obstructive airways and renal disease, diabetes, malignancy and polypharmacy in patients suffering falls in hospital. Mini-mental test scores (MTS) were also significantly reduced in this subgroup (p<0.001). 30-day and 1 year mortality rates were 9% and 26%, respectively in the control group and almost double this in the hospital subgroup, being 18% and 47%, respectively (30 days, 95% CI 2.00 (1.54-2.60): p<0.001; 1 year, 95% CI 2.04 (1.73-2.40): p<0.001). There was no statistical difference between post-operative complications or length of stay post-fracture. 55% of falls in hospital took place on medical/geriatric wards with an additional 14% occurring on psychiatric units. DISCUSSION: Patients suffering hip fractures after falls in hospital are frailer with impaired cognitive function and have more co-morbidities than those suffering a fracture in the community. These patients have increased mortality, with almost 50% dead within 1 year of the fall. The majority of hip fractures after falls occur in medical or geriatric wards, but the highest risk group appears to be elderly patients on psychiatric wards. Therefore, falls risk assessment and falls prevention schemes in hospital elderly patients are of paramount importance.

PMID: 19100542 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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