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Hospital differences in mortality rates after hip fracture surgery in Denmark

Authors Kristensen PK, Merlo J, Ghith N, Leckie G, Johnsen SP

Received 3 May 2019

Accepted for publication 14 June 2019

Published 16 July 2019 Volume 2019:11 Pages 605—614

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/CLEP.S213898

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Colin Mak

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Irene Petersen


Pia Kjær Kristensen,1,2 Juan Merlo,3 Nermin Ghith,3,4 George Leckie,5 Søren Paaske Johnsen6

1Department of Clinical Epidemiology, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus N DK-8200, Denmark; 2Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Regional Hospital Horsens, Horsens DK-8700, Denmark; 3Research Unit of Social Epidemiology, CRC, Faculty of Medicine, Lund University, Malmö SE-20502, Sweden; 4Research Unit for Chronic Diseases and E-Health, Section for Health Promotion and Prevention, Center for Clinical Research and Prevention, Frederiksberg Hospital, Frederiksberg 2000, Denmark; 5Centre for Multilevel Modelling, School of Education, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 1JA, UK; 6Department of Clinical Medicine, Aalborg University, Aalborg DK-9000, Denmark

Background: Thirty-day mortality after hip fracture is widely used when ranking hospital performance, but the reliability of such hospital ranking is seldom calculated. We aimed to quantify the variation in 30-day mortality across hospitals and to determine the hospital general contextual effect for understanding patient differences in 30-day mortality risk.
Methods: Patients aged ≥65 years with an incident hip fracture registered in the Danish Multidisciplinary Fracture Registry between 2007 and 2016 were identified (n=60,004). We estimated unadjusted and patient-mix adjusted risk of 30-day mortality in 32 hospitals. We performed a multilevel analysis of individual heterogeneity and discriminatory accuracy with patients nested within hospitals. We expressed the hospital general contextual effect by the median odds ratio (MOR), the area under the receiver operating characteristics curve and the variance partition coefficient (VPC).
Results: The overall 30-day mortality rate was 10%. Patient characteristics including high sociodemographic risk score, underweight, comorbidity, a subtrochanteric fracture, and living at a nursing home were strong predictors of 30-day mortality (area under the curve=0.728). The adjusted differences between hospital averages in 30-day mortality varied from 5% to 9% across the 32 hospitals, which correspond to a MOR of 1.18 (95% CI: 1.12–1.25). However, the hospital general context effect was low, as the VPC was below 1% and adding the hospital level to a single-level model with adjustment for patient-mix increased the area under the receiver operating characteristics curve by only 0.004 units.
Conclusions: Only minor hospital differences were found in 30-day mortality after hip fracture. Mortality after hip fracture needs to be lowered in Denmark but possible interventions should be patient oriented and universal rather than focused on specific hospitals.

Keywords: hip fracture, hospital variance, multilevel analysis, 30-day mortality


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