Original Research

Impact of Preoperative Specialty Consults on Hospitalist Comanagement of Hip Fracture Patients


BACKGROUND: Hip fractures typically occur in frail elderly patients. Preoperative specialty consults, in addition to hospitalist comanagement, are often requested for preoperative risk assessment.
OBJECTIVE: Determine if preoperative specialty consults meaningfully influence management and outcomes in hip fracture patients, while being comanaged by hospitalists DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study
SETTING: Tertiary care hospital in Connecticut
PATIENTS: 491 patients aged 50 years and older who underwent surgery for an isolated fragility hip fracture, defined as one occurring from a fall of a height of standing or less.
INTERVENTION: Presence or absence of a preoperative specialty consult
MEASUREMENTS: Time to surgery (TTS), length of hospital stay (LOS), and postoperative complications
RESULTS: 177 patients had a preoperative specialty consult. Patients with consults were older and had more comorbidities. Most consult recommendations were minor (72.8%); there was a major recommendation only for eight patients (4.5%). Multivariate analysis demonstrates that consults are more likely to be associated with a TTS beyond 24 hours (Odds Ratio [OR] 4.28 [2.79-6.56]) and 48 hours (OR 2.59 [1.52-4.43]), an extended LOS (OR 2.67 [1.78-4.03]), and a higher 30-day readmission rate (OR 2.11 [1.09-4.08]). A similar 30-day mortality rate was noted in both consult and no-consult groups.
CONCLUSIONS: The majority of preoperative specialty consults did not meaningfully influence management and may have potentially increased morbidity by delaying surgery. Our data suggest that unless a hip fracture patient is unstable and likely to require active management by a consultant, such consults offer limited benefit when weighed against the negative impact of surgical delay.

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