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Cost-Effectiveness Analysis of Fixation Options for Intertrochanteric Hip Fractures

Swart, Eric MD; Makhni, Eric C. MD, MBA; Macaulay, William MD; Rosenwasser, Melvin P. MD; Bozic, Kevin J. MD, MBA

Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery - American Volume: 1 October 2014 - Volume 96 - Issue 19 - p 1612–1620
doi: 10.2106/JBJS.M.00603
Scientific Articles

Background: Intertrochanteric hip fractures are a major source of morbidity and financial burden, accounting for 7% of osteoporotic fractures and costing nearly $6 billion annually in the United States. Traditionally, “stable” fracture patterns have been treated with an extramedullary sliding hip screw whereas “unstable” patterns have been treated with the more expensive intramedullary nail. The purpose of this study was to identify parameters to guide cost-effective implant choices with use of decision-analysis techniques to model these common clinical scenarios.

Methods: An expected-value decision-analysis model was constructed to estimate the total costs and health utility based on the choice of a sliding hip screw or an intramedullary nail for fixation of an intertrochanteric hip fracture. Values for critical parameters, such as fixation failure rate, were derived from the literature. Three scenarios were evaluated: (1) a clearly stable fracture (AO type 31-A1), (2) a clearly unstable fracture (A3), or (3) a fracture with questionable stability (A2). Sensitivity analysis was performed to test the validity of the model.

Results: The fixation failure rate and implant cost were the most important factors in determining implant choice. When the incremental cost for the intramedullary nail was set at the median value ($1200), intramedullary nailing had an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of $50,000/quality-adjusted life year when the incremental failure rate of sliding hip screws was 1.9%. When the incremental failure rate of sliding hip screws was >5.0%, intramedullary nails dominated with lower cost and better health outcomes. The sliding hip screw was always more cost-effective for A1 fractures, and the intramedullary nail always dominated for A3 fractures. As for A2 fractures, the sliding hip screw was cost-effective in 70% of the cases, although this was highly sensitive to the failure rate.

Conclusions: Sliding hip screw fixation is likely more cost-effective for stable intertrochanteric fractures (A1) or those with questionable stability (A2), whereas intramedullary nail fixation is more cost-effective for reverse obliquity fractures (A3). These conclusions are highly sensitive to the fixation failure rate, which was the major influence on the model results.

1Columbia University Medical Center, 622 West 168th Street, PH-1130, New York, NY 10032

2UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies, University of California, San Francisco, 500 Parnassus, MU 320W, San Francisco, CA 94143-0728. E-mail address:

Copyright 2014 by The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Incorporated
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