Hip fracture: diagnosis, treatment, and secondary prevention.


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Abstract

Hip fractures cause significant morbidity and are associated with increased mortality. Women experience 80% of hip fractures, and the average age of persons who have a hip fracture is 80 years. Most hip fractures are associated with a fall, although other risk factors include decreased bone mineral density, reduced level of activity, and chronic medication use. Patients with hip fractures have pain in the groin and are unable to bear weight on the affected extremity. During the physical examination, displaced fractures present with external rotation and abduction, and the leg will appear shortened. Plain radiography with cross-table lateral view of the hip and anteroposterior view of the pelvis usually confirms the diagnosis. If an occult hip fracture is suspected and plain radiography is normal, magnetic resonance imaging should be ordered. Most fractures are treated surgically unless the patient has significant comorbidities or reduced life expectancy. The consulting orthopedic surgeon will choose the surgical procedure. Patients should receive prophylactic antibiotics, particularly against Staphylococcus aureus, before surgery. In addition, patients should receive thromboembolic prophylaxis, preferably with low-molecular-weight heparin. Rehabilitation is critical to long-term recovery. Unless contraindicated, bisphosphonate therapy should be used to reduce the risk of another hip fracture. Some patients may benefit from a fall-prevention assessment.

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