The Hazards of Hip Fractures

Study finds huge health risks for patients discharged from hospital too soon

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FRIDAY, Jan. 17, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- People recovering from hip fractures who are discharged from the hospital too soon are much more likely to die or to have to be readmitted to hospital.

The Mount Sinai School of Medicine study found that people recovering from hip fractures who had mental confusion, heart or lung problems, one or more abnormal vital signs, or couldn't eat when they were discharged had a 360 percent greater chance of dying and a 60 percent greater chance of being readmitted to hospital within 60 days. The report appears in the current issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

The researchers created a list of acute clinical issues (ACIs), which are potentially dangerous conditions that need to be remedied before a hip fracture patient is discharged from hospital.

These ACIs include abnormal vital signs such as fever above 101 degrees F, very high or low blood pressure, very high or low heart rate, high breathing rate, and poor blood oxygenation.

Other ACIs included on the list include: inability to eat; wound infection; acute chest pain or shortness of breath; and mental status that differs from pre-fracture status.

The study, funded by the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, also found the risk of discharging hip fracture patients too soon wasn't reduced by sending those people to a post-acute care facility such as a rehabilitation hospital or skilled nursing home.

That's because even one ACI puts these patients at increased risk.

The study looked at 559 people with hip fractures admitted and discharged from hospitals in the New York Metropolitan area in 1997 and 1998.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about hip injuries.

SOURCE: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, news release, Jan. 13, 2003

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