Criteria for determining which patients are in danger of remaining immobile after hip fractures can benefit the elderly, according to a Danish study, presented at the European Federation of National Associations of Orthopaedics and Traumatology in Copenhagen.


The reestablishment of independent mobility is the foremost goal of rehabilitation following hip fractures, researchers say. But in 24% of the cases the goal is not met and patients cannot be discharged to their homes at the end of their primary hospitalization.

The study tracked 213 patients with a median age of 82 years. All of them had lived in their own homes before their hip fractures. Fifty patients (24%) did not regain independence in basic mobility following a multimodal fast-track rehabilitation program.


"The statistical analysis revealed three independent risk factors for remaining immobilized: age, fracture type, and the functional status of mobility prior to the injury," said Morten Tange Kristensen, lead author of the study.


Patients with their mobility already impaired before the fracture showed a sixfold risk of not regaining mobility during their stay in hospital, while a fourfold risk was seen in patients who sustained so-called intertrochanteric fractures that are more complicated than the relatively simple cervical fractures.
Though neither age nor pre-fracture mobility status can be changed, the data can help determine in advance which patients will likely face mobility problems and optimize their rehabilitation programs accordingly, Kristensen said. "We can, for example, try to compensate for the loss in muscle power typical in intertrochanteric fractures through earlier and more intensive strength training."

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European Federation of National Associations of Orthopaedics and Traumatology via Medical News Today