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Hospital variation in the risk of infection after hip fracture surgery: a population-based cohort study including 29,598 patients from 2012–2017

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Background and purpose — Understanding the key drivers of hospital variation in postoperative infections after hip fracture surgery is important for directing quality improvements. Therefore, we investigated variation in the risk of any infection, and subgroups of infections including pneumonia and sepsis after hip fracture surgery. Methods — In this nationwide population-based cohort study, all Danish patients aged ≥ 65 undergoing surgery for an incident hip fracture from 2012 to 2017 were included. Risk of postoperative infections, based on data from hospital registration (hospital-treated infections) and antibiotic dispensing (community-treated infections), were calculated using multilevel Poisson regression analysis. Hospital variation was evaluated by intra-class coefficient (ICC) and median risk ratio (MRR). Results — The risk of hospital-treated infection was 15%. The risk of community-treated infection was 24%. The adjusted risk varied between hospitals from 7.8–25% for hospital-treated infection and 16–34% for community-treated infection. The ICC indicated that 19% of the adjusted variance was due to hospital level for hospital-treated infection. The ICC for community-treated infections was 13%. The MRR showed a 2-fold increased risk for the average patient acquiring a hospital-treated infection at the highest risk hospital compared with the lowest risk hospital. For community-treated infection, the MRR was 1.4. Interpretation — Our results suggest that 20% of infections could be reduced by applying the top performing hospitals’ approach. Nearly a 5th of the variation was at the hospital level. This suggests a more standardized approach to avoid postoperative infection after hip fracture surgery. Hip fracture is a leading cause of hospital admission among the elderly. The 30-day mortality following hip fracture surgery has been approximately 10% during the last few years in Denmark (Pedersen et al. 2017). Higher mortality after hip fracture has been associated with a range of hospital factors (Kristensen et al. 2016, Sheehan et al. 2016) and patient factors in observational studies (Roche et al. 2005). Furthermore, variation in 30-day mortality after hip fracture surgery has been observed between Danish hospitals, but not fully explained (Kristensen et al. 2019).

Original languageEnglish
JournalActa Orthopaedica
Pages (from-to)215-221
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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