Study Shows Bilateral Femur Fractures have a Higher Mortality Rate

Home » Study Shows Bilateral Femur Fractures have a Higher Mortality Rate
October 04, 2019
Edward Smith

Bilateral Femur Fractures are More Deadly

Recently, a study was published demonstrating that bilateral femur fractures carry with them a higher morbidity and mortality rate. When someone suffers bilateral femur fractures, they have broken the femur in both of their legs at the same time. Because the femur is such a large bone, it typically requires a significant force to cause a fracture. When someone breaks both of their legs at the same time, it is evident that they have been involved in a serious accident.

Because the femur is so large, a fracture has a tremendous potential to do damage to essential structures that are nearby. When someone breaks both femurs, this risk only grows. This was the hypothesis of the individuals who published a recent research paper in the Journal of Orthopedics. Their results demonstrate just how serious bilateral femur fractures can be.

Mechanism of Bilateral Femur Fractures

Femur fractures are a relatively common bone fracture with about 250,000 proximal femur fractures taking place in the United States every year. Generally, femur fractures are divided into two separate categories. The first is the low-energy type of femur fracture. This commonly takes place in the elderly population who generally have weaker bones. An example of a low energy fracture would be a fall from a standing height. A fall of this nature would be unlikely to cause a fracture in a younger individual with stronger bones; however, for someone who is of advanced age, the femur might fracture.

The other category of femur fractures involves a high energy incident. Almost universally, this results from a motor vehicle accident, such as a motorcycle accident. If someone has been diagnosed with a bilateral femur fracture, these are almost universally the high energy type. While anyone is capable of suffering a high energy femur fracture, this is more common in younger individuals who exhibit risk-taking behavior more commonly.

The Design of the Study on Bilateral Femur Fractures

The authors note that previous reports had demonstrated a high morbidity and mortality rate in bilateral femur fractures. In some studies, the mortality rate was over 27 percent. This means that of the individuals diagnosed with bilateral femur fractures, more than a quarter of them died.

The goal of the researchers was to better identify the frequency of associated complications along with the mortality rate. The authors of the paper went back through the records of their own hospital to identify patients who had presented to their hospital with bilateral femur fractures. They went back more than a decade and identified a total of 72 individuals.

Overall, about one out of every 20 individuals who had a femur fracture diagnosed had suffered a bilateral injury. About two-thirds of the patients were men. Of the bilateral femur fractures, all of them occurred in a high energy setting. The author went through the charts of each patient and tracked the rate of complications, including mortality rate.

The Results of the Research Study: Mortality Rate

The researchers compiled all of their data and loaded it into statistical software. The overall mortality rate of the 72 patients was 6.9 percent. Those who were of advanced age or had more severe injuries were more likely to pass away.

Overall, twenty percent of the patients developed serious complications, including death. The most common complication was a deep vein thrombosis. This is a blood clot that occurs in one of the large blood vessels in the leg. This clot has the potential to travel elsewhere throughout the body, possibly causing a pulmonary embolism, a heart attack, or even a stroke.

Another common complication was pneumonia. This is an infection of the lungs that often develops in people who are unable to take deep breaths or move. Since many patients suffering from femur fractures are unable to move, pneumonia is a significant risk.

Implications for Treatment: Possible Early Fixation

The researchers also took a look at the timing of the femur fracture repair. Often, individuals who have suffered bilateral femur fractures have other associated injuries. Sometimes, the surgeons will elect to delay the repair of the femur fractures until the individual is more stable. The fear is that by repairing the fractures early, the patient might be at risk of developing severe complications in the operating room.

In the study, 60 of the patients underwent femur fracture repair within 24 hours of the injury. Of these individuals, close to 90 percent did not have any complications at all. These results show that it is possible to have an early fixation of bilateral femur fractures without having severe complications.

The authors also note that it is hard to predict which patients are safe for early repair. Future studies should try to identify which patients can undergo early bilateral femur fracture repair safely. This will help individuals recover from their injuries more quickly.

Sacramento Femur Fracture Lawyer 

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento femur fracture lawyer. Someone who has been diagnosed with bilateral femur fractures has a higher mortality rate than those with a single break. If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with a major femur fracture due to another person or entities negligence, please contact me today at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly legal advice.

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Citation of Photograph: The image at the beginning was found first on Pixabay & has been printed here with permission under the Creative Commons License.

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