Does Late Night Hip Surgery Affect Outcome?

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Abstract

Background:

There is a perception that after-hours hip surgery may result in increased complication rates. Surgeon fatigue, decreased availability of support staff, and other logistical factors may play an adverse role. However, there are little data supporting this perception in the hip fracture literature. We present a retrospective study comparing outcomes of hip fracture surgeries performed after hours versus regular daytime hours and outcomes before and after implementation of a dedicated orthopedic trauma room staffed by a fellowship trained traumatologist.

Methods:

A retrospective study of 767 consecutive patients with intertrochanteric, subtrochanteric, or femoral neck fractures was performed for the years 2000 to 2006. Surgeries were stratified by time of incision into two groups: day (07:00 am–05:59 pm) and night (06:00 pm–06:59 pm). Each group was further divided into a period before the implementation of a trauma room and the period after (August 2004). Records were examined for procedure length, intraoperative blood loss, complications (nonunion, implant failure, infection, deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolus, and refracture), reoperation, and mortality.

Results:

Four hundred ninety-nine patients were included the day group and 268 in the night group. There were no differences in terms of age, ethnicity, American Society of Anesthesiologists status, total number of comorbidities, and fracture type between groups. There were significantly more females in the night group than the day group. Intertrochanteric fractures were 64% of all fractures, femoral neck fractures were 34%, and subtrochanteric fractures were 2%. Duration of surgery for Dynamic Hip System procedures was significantly longer in the night group and also before the trauma room became available. These differences in duration of surgery also correlate with blood loss differences between the groups. Intramedullary nails also took longer to do at night. Hemiarthroplasties demonstrated no significant differences. The 1-year and 2-year mortalities of hip fracture patients operated during daytime hours in a trauma room (13 and 15%, respectively) were significantly less than they were before the implementation of the trauma room (25 and 37%, respectively). When the effect of the trauma room was eliminated, there were no significant differences between overall daytime and nighttime mortalities at 1 month, 1 year, and 2 years. There were no significant differences in other complications noted between the different groups.

Conclusions:

We recommend that nighttime surgery should not be dismissed in hip fracture patients that would otherwise benefit from an early operation. However, there seems to be a decreasing trend in mortality when hip fractures are operated in a dedicated daytime trauma room staffed by a dedicated traumatologist.

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