Use of Medical Comorbidities to Predict Complications After Hip Fracture Surgery in the Elderly

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Background:Comorbidities before and complications following hip fracture surgery can impact the return of function. We hypothesized that the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) classification of medical comorbidities is a useful surrogate variable for the patient's general medical condition and would be a strong predictor of perioperative medical complications following hip fracture surgery.Methods:A retrospective review of the cases of 197 elderly patients who had undergone operative management of a hip fracture was performed. The ASA class, data regarding perioperative medical and surgical complications, and demographic data were obtained. Medical complications were defined as those requiring intervention by an internist or medical specialist. Differences in complication rates among the ASA classes were determined.Results:Medical complications were more common in patients in ASA class 3 (p < 0.001) and those in class 4 (p = 0.001) than in those in class 2. Patients in ASA class 3 had a 3.78 times greater chance of having a medical complication than did those in class 2 (p < 0.001). Patients in ASA class 4 had a 7.39 times greater chance of having medical complications than did those in class 2 (p = 0.001). No significant relationship was identified between the ASA class and surgical complications.Conclusions:The ASA class is strongly associated with medical problems in the perioperative period following hip fracture surgery in the elderly. Patients identified as being at higher risk (in ASA class 3 or 4) preoperatively should be closely managed medically so that perioperative medical complications can be managed and evolving medical issues can be addressed in a timely fashion.Level of Evidence:Prognostic Level II. See Instructions to Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

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