A survey of high- and low-energy acetabular fractures in elderly patients
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INTRODUCTION: Geriatric patients represent 14% of acetabular fractures and are the fastest growing subset of patients affected by this injury in the US. Treatment outcomes have been reported as inferior to those achieved in younger patients after high-energy (HE) acetabular trauma. This study aimed to compare detailed demographic characteristics and clinical outcomes in elderly patients (≥65 years of age) treated in a tertiary North American trauma center for acetabular fractures after both high- and low-energy mechanisms of injury. METHODS: Patients (≥65 years of age) diagnosed with an acetabular fracture were identified over a 7-year period. Patient and injury characteristics were extracted from our institutional trauma database. Length of stay, intervention, operative details, disposition, complications, readmissions, and mortality were analyzed. RESULTS: One hundred nine patients were identified for inclusion. Low-energy mechanisms (simple falls) were found in 64 (58.7%) and HE mechanisms in 45 (41.3%) patients. The HE cohort was younger (74.6 vs 80.7 years; P < .001), had a higher male predominance (76% vs 56%; P = .10), a lower Charlson comorbidity index (1.29 ± 1.49 vs 2.16 ± 1.76; P = .01), and a higher injury severity score (19.90 ± 15.33 vs 6.46 ± 3.57; P < .001). Fracture patterns, described according to the Letournel-Judet classification, were similar between the 2 groups. Thirty-day mortality was significantly higher in the HE group (26.7% vs 3.1%; P < .001); however, the 1-year mortality rates were not statistically different (31.1% vs 25.0%; P = .20). DISCUSSION: Patients with acetabular fractures sustained due to HE accidents demonstrate significantly higher 30-day mortality rate than patients with low-energy fractures, but similar mortality 1 year after the injury, despite having a much lower mean age and fewer comorbidities. CONCLUSION: Medical efforts made during initial hospital admission may have the biggest impact on survivorship following acetabular fracture.
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