The Rothman Index Is Associated With Postdischarge Adverse Events After Hip Fracture Surgery in Geriatric Patients

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The Rothman Index is a comprehensive measure of overall patient status in the inpatient setting already in use at many medical centers. It ranges from 100 (best score) to -91 (worst score) and is calculated based on 26 variables encompassing vital signs, routine laboratory values, and organ system assessments from nursing rounds from the electronic medical record. Past research has shown an association of Rothman Index with complications, readmission, and death in certain populations, but it has not been evaluated in geriatric patients with hip fractures, a potentially vulnerable patient population.


(1) Is there an association between Rothman Index scores and postdischarge adverse events in a population aged 65 years and older with hip fractures? (2) What is the discriminative ability of Rothman Index scores in determining which patients will or will not experience these adverse events? (3) Are there Rothman Index thresholds associated with increased incidence of postdischarge adverse outcomes?


One thousand two hundred fourteen patients aged 65 years and older who underwent hip fracture surgery at an academic medical center between 2013 and 2016 were identified. Demographic and comorbidity characteristics were characterized, and 30-day postdischarge adverse events were calculated. The associations between a 10-unit change in Rothman Index scores and postdischarge adverse events, mortality, and readmission were determined. American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) class was used as a measure of comorbidity because prior research has shown its performance to be equivalent or superior to that of calculated comorbidity measures in this data set. We assessed the ability of Rothman Index scores to determine which patients experienced adverse events. Finally, Rothman Index thresholds were assessed for an association with increased incidence of postdischarge adverse outcomes.


We found a strong association between Rothman Index scores and postdischarge adverse events (lowest score: odds ratio [OR] = 1.29 [1.18-1.41], p < 0.001; latest score: OR = 1.37 [1.24-1.52], p < 0.001) after controlling for age, sex, body mass index, ASA class, and surgical procedure performed. The discriminative ability of lowest and latest Rothman Index scores was better than those of age, sex, and ASA class for any adverse event (lowest value: area under the curve [AUC] = 0.641; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.601-0.681; latest value: AUC = 0.640; 95% CI, 0.600-0.680); age (0.534; 95% CI, 0.493-0.575, p < 0.001 for both), male sex (0.552; 95% CI, 0.518-0.585, p = 0.001 for both), and ASA class (0.578; 95% CI, 0.542-0.614; p = 0.004 for lowest Rothman Index, p = 0.006 for latest Rothman Index). There was never a difference when comparing lowest Rothman Index value and latest Rothman Index value for any of the outcomes (Table 5). Patients experienced increased rates of postdischarge adverse events and mortality with a lowest Rothman Index of ≤ 35 (p < 0.05) or latest Rothman Index of ≤ 55 (p < 0.05).


The Rothman Index provides an objective method of assessing perioperative risk in the setting of hip fracture surgery in patients older than age 65 years and is more accurate than demographic measures or ASA class. Furthermore, there are Rothman Index thresholds that can be used to identify patients at increased risk of complications. Physicians can use this tool to monitor the condition of patients with hip fracture, recognize patients at high risk of adverse events to consider changing their plan of care, and counsel patients and families. Further investigation is needed to determine whether interventions based on Rothman Index values contribute to improved outcomes or value of hip fracture care.

Level of Evidence

Level II, diagnostic study.

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