Early mortality in hip fracture patients admitted during first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Northern Italy: a multicentre study

Dante Dallari, Luigi Zagra, Pietro Cimatti, Nicola Guindani, Rocco D'Apolito, Federico Bove, Alessandro Casiraghi, Fabio Catani, Fabio D'Angelo, Massimo Franceschini, Alessandro Massè, Alberto Momoli, Mario Mosconi, Flavio Ravasi, Fabrizio Rivera, Giovanni Zatti, Claudio Carlo Castelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Treatment of hip fractures during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has posed unique challenges for the management of COVID-19-infected patients and the maintenance of standards of care. The primary endpoint of this study is to compare the mortality rate at 1 month after surgery in symptomatic COVID-positive patients with that of asymptomatic patients. A secondary endpoint of the study is to evaluate, in the two groups of patients, mortality at 1 month on the basis of type of fracture and type of surgical treatment.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: For this retrospective multicentre study, we reviewed the medical records of patients hospitalised for proximal femur fracture at 14 hospitals in Northern Italy. Two groups were formed: COVID-19-positive patients (C+ group) presented symptoms, had a positive swab for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and received treatment for COVID-19; COVID-19-negative patients (C- group) were asymptomatic and tested negative for SARS-CoV-2. The two groups were compared for differences in time to surgery, survival rate and complications rate. The follow-up period was 1 month.

RESULTS: Of the 1390 patients admitted for acute care for any reason, 477 had a proximal femur fracture; 53 were C+ but only 12/53 were diagnosed as such at admission. The mean age was > 80 years, and the mean American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) score was 3 in both groups. There was no substantial difference in time to surgery (on average, 2.3 days for the C+ group and 2.8 for the C- group). As expected, a higher mortality rate was recorded for the C+ group but not associated with the type of hip fracture or treatment. No correlation was found between early treatment (< 48 h to surgery) and better outcome in the C+ group.

CONCLUSIONS: Hip fracture in COVID-19-positive patients accounted for 11% of the total. On average, the time to surgery was > 48 h, which reflects the difficulty of maintaining normal workflow during a medical emergency such as the present pandemic and notwithstanding the suspension of non-urgent procedures. Hip fracture was associated with a higher 30-day mortality rate in COVID-19-positive patients than in COVID-19-negative patients. This fact should be considered when communicating with patients and/or their family. Our data suggest no substantial difference in hip fracture management between patients with or without COVID-19 infection. In this sample, the COVID-19-positive patients were generally asymptomatic at admission; therefore, routine screening is recommended.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Therapeutic study, level 4.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Orthopaedics and Traumatology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 5 2021


  • COVID-19
  • Cephalomedullary nail
  • Coronavirus
  • Hip arthroplasty
  • Neck of the femur
  • Osteosynthesis
  • Pertrochanteric fractures
  • Proximal femur
  • SARS-CoV-2


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