• hip fractures;
  • fast-track program;
  • mortality;
  • complications

OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the rate of postoperative complications, length of stay, and 1-year mortality before and after introduction of a comprehensive multidisciplinary fast-track treatment and care program for hip fracture patients (the optimized program).

DESIGN: Retrospective chart review with historical control.

SETTING: Orthopedic ward (110 beds) at a university hospital (700 beds).

PARTICIPANTS: Five hundred thirty-five consecutive patients aged 40 and older (94%≥60) hospitalized for hip fracture between January 1, 2003, and March 31, 2004. Three hundred and thirty-six patients (70.3%) were community dwellers before the fracture and 159 (29.7%) were admitted from nursing homes.

INTERVENTION: The fast-track treatment and care program included a switch from systemic opiates to a local femoral nerve catheter block; an earlier assessment by the anesthesiologist; and a more-systematic approach to nutrition, fluid and oxygen therapy, and urinary retention.

RESULTS: In the intervention group, the rate of any in-hospital postoperative complication was reduced from 33% to 20% (odds ratio=0.61, 95% confidence interval=0.4–0.9; P=.002). Rates of confusion (P=.02), pneumonia (P=.03), and urinary tract infection (P<.001) were lower in the intervention group than in the control group, and length of stay was 15.8 days in the control group, versus 9.7 days in the intervention group (P<.001). For community dwellers, 12-month mortality was 23% in the control group versus 12% in the intervention group (P=.02). Overall 12-month mortality was 29% in the control group and 23% in the intervention group (P=.2).

CONCLUSION: The optimized hip fracture program reduced the rate of in-hospital postoperative complications and mortality. Randomized clinical trials are needed to confirm these results and elucidate the elements of the program that have the greatest effect on clinical outcomes and mortality.