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New study aims to give patients faster access to surgery for broken hips


HIP ATTACK to improve patient outcomes

Orthopaedic surgeons are taking part in a study called HIP ATTACK to see how faster access to emergency surgery for broken hips improves care for patients.

When Helen Cameron came to The Ottawa Hospital with a broken hip, she had no idea she would end up being a part of a study aimed at helping other patients. But that is precisely the goal of a new study taking place at the hospital and around the world.

Faster access to emergency surgery is now a proven link to better outcomes for patients, thanks to a study led by The Ottawa Hospital. Soon, health-care professionals will have a specific example of this evidence.

“It’s great to know that The Ottawa Hospital is participating in clinical trials to improve patient care,” said Dr. Bill Cameron. “My mother received excellent care, the staff were so kind and compassionate. But knowing that the quality of care is being evaluated is comforting for all patients here.”

The Hip Fracture Accelerated and Surgical Care Treatment Track (called HIP ATTACK), will study whether patients suffering from a broken hip will benefit from faster access to surgery. Based on a model used by Dr. Antoine Hakim’s stroke code research, this study hopes to speed up the process for hip fracture surgeries, providing better patient care and outcomes.

How did HIP ATTACK start?

Doctors have long known that the patient demographics for hip replacement surgery are similar to those who undergo hip fracture (broken hip) surgery. Yet, the mortality rate for hip fracture surgery was higher than for hip replacement surgery,

Hip fractures put the patient’s body under stress, and often involve bleeding and inflammation. Doctors believe these factors are what likely contribute to the higher mortality rate.

Doctors in Hamilton wondered: If patients received hip fracture surgery faster, would it bring down the mortality rate? That’s when the HIP ATTACK study began to take shape.

What happens in HIP ATTACK?

In 96 sites around the world, including The Ottawa Hospital, patients with broken hips are randomly placed in one of two groups. Those in the accelerated-care group receive emergency surgery within six hours of coming to the hospital. Those in the standard-care group have surgery within 24 to 48 hours (the standard for health care in Canada).

Researchers will study the difference in the rate of complications between the two groups, but patients such as Mrs. Cameron are already seeing the difference that comes with getting into surgery faster.

What’s next?

While the results won’t be available for at least two years, a pilot trial comparing accelerated care and standard care has already shown signs of the results to come.

In the trial, 13 percent fewer patients in the accelerated-care group had major complications compared with the standard-care group. This means that patients who received their emergency surgery faster had a lower chance of surgical complications.

The evidence found in HIP ATTACK will help The Ottawa Hospital, and other health-care facilities, keep innovating to provide the best care possible to patients, here and around the world.


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