Morbidity and mortality of bilateral femur fractures

Mark K. Lane, Nickolas J. Nahm, Heather A. Vallier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Bilateral femur fractures have been associated with frequent morbidity and mortality. Associated injuries and massive hemorrhage contributed to mortality rates that were as high as 27% in previous reports. The goals of this study were to determine the frequency of associated complications, including mortality, and to identify which patient and injury features are associated with increased morbidity and mortality. The authors proposed that some patients with bilateral femur fractures may undergo early definitive fixation with an acceptable rate of complications. Patients who had bilateral femur fractures dur-ing the same injury event were retrospectively reviewed. Demographic characteristics, associated injuries, and the type and timing of treatment were determined. Complica-tions were identified. The authors identified 50 men and 22 women, with a mean age of 41.5 years, who had high-energy bilateral femur fractures. These patients accounted for 5.5% of all femur fractures treated at the authors' institution over a period of 11 years. Two patients died before fixation. In addition, 13 other patients (19%) had 21 complica-tions, including pneumonia in 6 (8.6%) and deep venous thrombosis in 7 (10%). No patient had adult respiratory distress syndrome, but 2 died of multiple organ failure. All patients with pulmonary complications had an underlying chest injury (P=.004). The overall mortality rate was 6.9%, and mortality was associated with higher mean age and higher Injury Severity Score (ISS). Of the 60 patients who had definitive fixation within 24 hours of injury, 53 (88%) had no complications. Complication rates were similar to those reported in the literature, with a mortality rate of 6.9%, including 3 patients who died after femoral fixation. Mortality was associated with advanced age and higher ISS. Chest injuries were associated with pulmonary complications. Most patients had early definitive fixation without complications, but it is not possible to predict which patients may be safely treated on an early basis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e588-e592
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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