The Reconstructive Surgery of the Locomotor System group at Vall d’Hebron Institute of Research (VHIR), led by Dr. César Galo García-Fontecha, and the Traumatic Unit of the Traumatology Area at Vall d’Hebron University Hospital, participate in two studies that could change the surgical protocols of hip fractures in the elderly. The studies are multicenter, prospective and randomized, and coordinated by the McMaster University in Ontario, Canada.
According to Dr. García-Fontecha, “both studies could mark a milestone for the orthopedics community, because they will probably change the treatment of fragile old people with comorbidities that suffer hip fractures”. Nowadays, between the 20 and 30 per cent of patients with hip fractures die during the first year. In addition, hip fractures are associated to a high risk of complications, re-operations and disability.
The first study, called HeEALTH, compares the outcomes of the bipolar prosthesis versus total prosthesis in femoral neck fractures. The objectives of the project are to improve the functional results and avoid complications and reoperations.
On the other side, the Hip Attack study examines whether 'accelerated' surgery (carried out in the first 6 hours after the diagnosis) results in better recovery, better outcomes, and less deaths, when compared to current practice (currently, most people have surgery within 48-72 hours). However, if accelerated surgery is shown to be better, as it happened in the pilot study, Dr. García Fontecha says that “this could entirely change the way hip fracture patients are treated, because we will have to do codes of procedures such as the Stroke Code or the Myocardial Infarction Code, in which a fast intervention is essential for saving lives”.