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Simultaneous hip and upper limb fracture in the elderly: incidence, features and management considerations

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DOI: 10.1016/s0020-1383(01)00097-3


Abstract We performed a retrospective analysis of all patients admitted to a single unit over 4 years with fractured neck of femur. Of the 760 patients admitted over this period of time 36 (4.7%) were found to also have a fracture of the upper limb. The associated upper limb fractures were distal radius ( n=28), olecranon ( n=2) and neck of humerus ( n=5) and fifth metacarpal ( n=1), with the same ratio of intracapsular to extracapsular fractures as the whole group. The female to male ratio in the isolated hip fracture group was 2.4:1 and for the combined fractures group was 8:1 (difference P=0.014). The mean patient age was 77.3 years for isolated hip fractures and 83.9 for the combined group ( P=0.037). The mean total length of stay in hospital for isolated hip fracture was 15.6 days and for combined fractures was 20.4 days ( P=0.010). We have demonstrated that combined upper limb and neck of femur fractures occur in a population that is older and predominantly female. They are associated with a significant increase in hospital stay and increased difficulties in mobilisation as a consequence of the combined fractures. It is therefore important to recognise this specific subgroup of patients presenting with hip fractures in order to ensure that they receive adequate treatment and rehabilitation and that the use of valuable health care resources are optimised.

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