Musculoskeletal injuries are common following trauma and variables that are associated with late femur fracture fixation are important to perioperative management. Furthermore, the association of late fracture fixation and multiple organ failure (MOF) is not well defined.
We performed a retrospective cohort investigation from 2 academic trauma centers. Inclusion criteria: age 18–89 years, injury severity score (ISS) >15, femoral shaft fracture requiring operative fixation, and admission to the intensive care unit >2 days. Admission physiology variables and abbreviated injury scale (AIS) scores were obtained. Lactate was collected as a marker of shock and was described as admission lactate (LacAdm) and as 24-hour time-weighted lactate (LacTW24h), which reflects an area under the curve and is considered a marker for the overall depth of shock. The primary aim was to evaluate clinical variables associated with late femur fracture fixation (defined as ≥24 hours after admission). A multivariable logistic regression model tested variables associated with late fixation and is reported by odds ratio (OR) with 95% confidence interval (CI). The secondary aim evaluated the association between late fixation and MOF, defined by the Denver MOF score. The summation of scores (on a scale from 0 to 3) from the cardiac, pulmonary, hepatic, and renal systems was calculated and MOF was confirmed if the total daily sum of the worst scores from each organ system was >3. We assessed the association between late fixation and MOF using a Cox proportional hazards model adjusted for confounding variables by inverse probability weighting (a propensity score method). A P value <.05 was considered statistically significant.
One hundred sixty of 279 (57.3%) patients received early fixation and 119 of 279 (42.7%) received late fixation. LacTW24h (OR = 1.66 per 1 mmol/L increase, 95% CI, 1.24-2.21; P < .001) and ISS (OR = 1.07 per 1-point increase, 95% CI, 1.03-1.10; P < .001) were associated with higher odds of late fixation. Late fixation was associated with a 3-fold increase in the odds of MOF (hazard ratio [HR] = 3.21, 95% CI, 1.48-7.00; P < .01).
In a cohort of multisystem trauma patients with femur fractures, greater injury severity and depth of shock, as measured by LacTW24h, were associated with late operative fixation. Late fixation was also associated with MOF. Strategies to reduce the burden of MOF in this population require further investigation.