Early Ambulation after Hip Fracture Surgery Is Associated with Decreased 30-Day Mortality

Jace J. Heiden, Stephen R. Goodin, Matthew A. Mormino, Justin C. Siebler, Sara M. Putnam, Elizabeth R. Lyden, Matthew A. Tao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Introduction:Hip fractures frequently present in complicated patients and are fraught with high morbidity and mortality rates. Postoperatively, delayed ambulation has been identified as a factor associated with increased mortality, although its magnitude has yet to be quantified. Therefore, this article aims to evaluate mortality after hip fracture surgery because it relates to early postoperative ambulation, taking into account preexisting comorbidity burden.Methods:This is a retrospective review of patients older than age 65 years who underwent surgical fixation for hip fractures because of a low-energy mechanism. Ambulation during the first 3 postoperative days was recorded along with age and preexisting comorbidity burden (Modified 5-Factor Frailty Index), and 30-day and 1-year mortality statuses were examined. Multivariable logistic regression was used to analyze the association between postoperative ambulation and mortality.Results:Of 485 patients initially identified, 218 met the inclusion criteria. Overall mortality rates were 6.4% at 30 days and 18.8% at 1 year. Two-Thirds of patients ambulated in the first 3 postoperative days versus one-Third who did not. Patients who did not ambulate had both significantly increased 30-day mortality (odds ratio [OR] 4.42, P = 0.010, 95% confidence intervals [CIs] 1.42 to 13.75) and 1-year mortality (OR 2.26, P = 0.022, 95% CI 1.12 to 4.53). After multivariable logistic regression accounting for age and comorbidity status, ambulation remained strongly associated with 30-day (OR 3.87, P = 0.024, 95% CI 1.20 to 12.50) but not 1-year mortality (OR 1.66, P = 0.176, 95% CI 0.80 to 3.48). Although neither were significant at 30 days, both increasing age (OR 1.05, P = 0.020, 95% CI 1.01 to 1.10) and Modified 5-Factor Frailty Index (OR 1.62, P = 0.005, 95% CI 1.16 to 2.26) correlated with increased mortality at 1 year.Conclusion:Early ambulation after hip fracture surgery bears a notable, almost four-fold, association with early postoperative mortality independent of age and medical comorbidities. Our results support a growing body of evidence that ambulation is a powerful tool that should continue to be emphasized to optimize mortality in hip fracture patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E238-E242
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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