Diabetes Prolongs Fracture Recovery

Study found longer hospital stays after ankle surgery compared to non-diabetics

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WEDNESDAY, Aug. 17, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- Following ankle fracture surgery, diabetic patients experienced much higher rates of complications and higher hospital costs than non-diabetics, a new study shows.

"While a number of smaller studies have indicated that diabetic patients tended to have worse outcomes after ankle surgery, this is the first large-scale analysis of a cross-section of patients across the U.S.," study lead author Shanti Ganesh, a fourth-year medical student at Duke University Medical Center, in Durham, N.C., said in a prepared statement.

The researchers analyzed data from nearly 170,000 ankle fracture patients across the United States and found that diabetics required an additional day of hospitalization (average 4.7 vs. 3.6 days), resulting in about 20 percent more in average hospital costs ($12,898 vs. $10,794).

The study also found that diabetics had higher death rates (0.26 percent vs. 0.11 percent) and higher rates of complications (4.6 percent vs. 3.3 percent) following ankle fracture surgery, compared to patients without diabetes.

The findings appear in the Aug. 15 issue of the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery.

"This analysis demonstrated that diabetic patients, no matter how severe the ankle fracture, were more likely to experience higher rates of post-operative complications, mortality, and non-routine discharge, with accompanying longer lengths of hospital stay and higher hospital charges," Ganesh said.

The findings may help in the development of ways to improve care for these patients and reduce health care costs, the researchers said.

More information

The American Diabetes Association has more about diabetes.

SOURCE: Duke University, news release, Aug. 15, 2005

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