BACKGROUND: Hip fractures are a major public health problem in elderly populations and are accompanied by high-mortality rates. Whether timing of surgery has an impact on morbidity and mortality has been discussed controversially, numerous studies suggest that the delay of surgery can significantly increase the risk of morbidity and mortality; others report that achieving a stable medical condition is more important than early surgery. The goal of our systematic review is to assess the impact of timing of surgery on health outcomes in patients aged 60 years or older with acute hip fracture. In addition, we will investigate differences in beneficial or harmful effects of timing of surgery in subgroups of patients based on demographic characteristics, physical status, and the use of anticoagulant medications.
METHODS: We will systematically search MEDLINE via Ovid, the Cochrane Library, Embase, PubMed, and clinical trial registries (from 1997 to 2017). In addition, we will search reference lists of pertinent reviews, archives of annual meetings of orthopaedic societies, and contact experts. We will include randomized controlled trials and non-randomized studies assessing the impact of timing of surgery after hip fracture in patients 60 years or older, published in English or German. Our outcomes of interest include health outcomes such as mortality, perioperative complications, functional capacity, and quality of life. We plan to perform meta-analyses if we have at least three sufficiently similar studies. If data are sufficient, we will conduct subgroup-analyses testing for differences between age groups, sex, patients' physical status as assessed with ASA (American Society of Anesthesiologists) scores, and the use of anticoagulation.
DISCUSSION: Since this is the first systematic review on this topic since 2010, our findings will help to inform clinical practice guidelines concerning timing of surgery in hip fractures. Furthermore, our findings could contribute to define an optimal time period for surgery for different groups of patients with acute hip fracture.
SYSTEMATIC REVIEW REGISTRATION: PROSPERO 2017 CRD42017058216.