Adherence to guidelines regarding total hip replacement for fractured neck of femur

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In 2011 the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) published guidelines suggesting that clinicians offer total hip replacement (THR) to patients with displaced intracapsular hip fractures who could walk independently outside with no aids or one stick, who are not cognitively impaired and are ASA (American Society of Anesthesiologists) grade ≤2. They also stated that best practice is operating within 36 hours of presentation. This audit aimed to determine whether Scarborough Hospital was following these guidelines and compared the results with the national average.


Two years of data (January 2012 - December 2013) were collected retrospectively from Scarborough Hospital’s hip fracture database on all patients presenting with an intracapsular hip fracture. Data were analysed to determine whether patients who had a THR fulfilled NICE criteria. Furthermore, patients with hemiarthroplasties who were eligible for THRs were identified. Finally, the time to surgery was calculated to examine whether patients receiving THRs waited longer than patients receiving hemiarthroplasties.


In 2012, 48.6% of all eligible patients received a THR while in 2013 the figure was 55.9%. These percentages are much higher than the national average. However, 36 (53.7%) of the 67 patients who received a THR did not fulfil all the NICE criteria, mainly owing to high ASA grade. The mean time from presentation to theatre for THR was 8 hours and 37 minutes longer for THR patients than for hemiarthroplasty in 2012. This difference was reduced to 2 hours and 12 minutes in 2013.


Small general hospitals can meet and even exceed the standards regarding treatment strategies for hip factures. However, there is still room for improvement. Departmental training may be useful in achieving this aim. The anaesthetic team should be involved at the earliest opportunity, to help optimise patients preoperatively and determine whether patients listed for THR with higher ASA grades are suitable for this surgery.

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