10 October 2013


Doctors 'Should Do More to Inform Patients'
Contributed by Emily Liu, the article warns of the increased possibility of death from infections during this 5 year period compared to non-fracture cases because of the immobility of the patients. The five main causes of death were identified as stroke, coronary heart disease, pneumonia, urinary tract infection and cancer.

Researchers from the National University of Singapore Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health conducted studies between 1993 and 1998 on 1,166 chinese patients with hip fractures and of these, 37% of them passed away within 5 years in comparison to only 22% of non-fracture cases. This figure is alarming and more should be done to inform and warn the patients and their families of the increased risk. Assoc Prof Wilson Wang opined that infections are things that can be easily treated if caught early, hence doctor awareness and patient awareness are very important.

The immobility brought about by the hip fractures has dire consequences because of the increased risks of chest and urinary tract infections. The former can happen when the patients consume food while lying down and inadvertently, food may enter the lungs through the windpipe and cause infection. The latter can happen when the patients hold back their urine for longer periods of time because of the inconvenience and increased difficulty of visiting the toilets, thereby allowing bacteria to proliferate. The risks of dying from pneumonia were found to be higher in men and of dying from urinary tract infections were higher in women.

The recommendation by the research group to reduce the risk of mortality is to inform patients and their caregivers of the increased risk so that adequate preventive measures can be taken to help improve the mobility of these patients. Prevention of osteoporosis is also recommended because it reduces the risk of sustaining a hip fracture.