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We have undertaken a prospective study in patients with a fracture of the femoral shaft requiring intramedullary nailing to test the hypothesis that the femoral canal could be a potential source of the second hit phenomenon. We determined the local femoral intramedullary and peripheral release of interleukin-6 (IL-6) after fracture and subsequent intramedullary reaming.In all patients, the fracture caused a significant increase in the local femoral concentrations of IL-6 compared to a femoral control group. The concentration of IL-6 in the local femoral environment was significantly higher than in the patients own matched blood samples from their peripheral circulation. The magnitude of the local femoral release of IL-6 after femoral fracture was independent of the injury severity score and whether the fracture was closed or open.In patients who underwent intramedullary reaming of the femoral canal a further significant local release of IL-6 was demonstrated, providing evidence that intramedullary reaming can cause a significant local inflammatory reaction.