Elderly patient's mortality and morbidity following trochanteric fracture. A hundred cases prospective study

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Background: Trochanteric fractures are a major source of mortality, morbidity and functional impairment in the elderly. Morbidity is closely related to the degree of instability and comminution and is substantially influenced by the quality of reduction and internal fixation. Advanced age and associated co-morbidities are two decisive factors of mortality secondary to trochanteric fracture. Objectives: This prospective study examined the epidemiological profile of trochanteric fractures and assessed mortality and morbidity with the aim of establishing management guidelines and improving prevention strategies. Material and methods: One hundred patients were included; 60% were male. Mean age was 76 years (range, 60-96 yrs). One, or more than one, co-morbidities were present in 68% of cases. The fractures were caused by a simple fall in 90% of cases. Fractures were classified according to the criteria of Ramadier and the ones of Ender. Sixty-five percent of these fractures were unstable. A dynamic hip screw was systematically used as the standard means of internal fixation. Results: Anatomic and functional results were analyzed in 82 patients (18 had died within the first year following fracture occurrence). Mean follow-up period was 24 months (range, 12-36 months). Bone healing was achieved in 96% of cases. There were numerous postoperative complications (four cases of thromboembolism, fourteen immobility-related complications, two infections, six secondary displacement combined to loss of fixation, four non-unions, and nine malunions). At 2 years follow-up, 28 patients had died. Mortality was strongly correlated with older age (over 90 years), associated co-morbidity and fracture instability. Good functional outcomes (72%) correlated with younger age (60-74 years), fracture stability, adequate reduction and internal fixation. Discussion: In stable trochanteric fractures, osteosynthesis by dynamic screw-plate is more effective than alternative techniques (blade-plate, nail-plate, Ender nail or even trochanteric nail). In unstable trochanteric fractures, delayed weight-bearing should be prefered to avoid mechanical complications. In fractures that are unstable or extend far below the lesser trochanter, trochanteric nailing is indicated since providing enhanced stability, but sometimes at the cost of insufficient reduction. The treatment objective should be the complete resumption of weight-bearing as early as possible with the fewest possible complications. Prevention consists in detecting and treating osteoporosis and countering the causes of falls in elderly subjects (muscular reinforcement and correction of neurosensory deficit). Level of evidence: Level III: Prospective diagnostic study. © 2009.




Mnif, H., Koubaa, M., Zrig, M., Trabelsi, R., & Abid, A. (2009). Elderly patient’s mortality and morbidity following trochanteric fracture. A hundred cases prospective study. Orthopaedics and Traumatology: Surgery and Research, 95(7), 505–510. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.otsr.2009.08.001

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