-- Robert Preidt
MONDAY, Jan. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Weight loss and malnutrition
are among the medical conditions that increase treatment costs and
the length of hospital stays for older adults with hip fractures, a
new study finds.
More than 250,000 hip fractures occur each year in the United
States, often resulting in hospitalization, surgery, extended
periods of rehabilitation and/or long-term disability, and
admission to a nursing home.
This study looked at coexisting medical conditions
(comorbidities) that affect treatment costs and the length of
hospitalization for hip fracture patients. The researchers examined
2007 hospital discharge data from 32,440 patients treated at more
than 1,000 hospitals in 40 states. Nearly 80 percent of the
patients were 75 or older and 72 percent were women.
Most of the patients had two or three comorbidities. Only about
5 percent had no other health conditions. High blood pressure
affected 67 percent of the patients and was by far the most common
Other comorbidities included: deficiency anemias (disorders
caused by a lack of certain nutrients, such as iron or vitamin
B12); fluid and electrolyte disorders; chronic lung diseases;
diabetes; neurological disorders; hypothyroidism; and congestive
The researchers found that comorbidities significantly increase
treatment cost and length of hospital stay. Hip fracture patients
who were very thin or malnourished had the greatest increased
costs, following by those with pulmonary circulatory disorders that
affect blood flow to and from the lungs.
Recent weight loss or malnutrition also had the greatest impact
on hospitalization, increasing the length of hospital stay by 2.5
days. Hospital stays were about a day longer for patients with
congestive heart failure or pulmonary circulation disorders.
Other comorbidities that lengthened hospital stay were fluid and
electrolyte disorders, paralysis, and conditions contributing to
The study was published in the
Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery.
Two major issues require further investigation, according to Dr.
Kevin Black, one of the study authors and professor and chair of
orthopedics and rehabilitation at Penn State College of
"First, we need to better understand the total cost of caring for hip-fracture patients. Our study focused only on acute hospitalization, but care typically extends well beyond this, since many patients are discharged to rehabilitation and skilled-nursing facilities," Black said in a journal news release.
"Second, this study did not investigate the quality or outcomes of care. As our population ages, there is reason to believe that the number of hip fractures will increase. Having a better understanding of the comorbidities that affect hip-fracture patients hopefully will lead to the development of strategies to more effectively care for these patients."
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more
hip fractures among older adults.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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