Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
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Trends in hip fracture care in the Republic of Ireland from 2013 to 2018: results from the Irish Hip Fracture Database

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journal contribution
posted on 2021-11-08, 09:28 authored by Mary E Walsh, Helena Ferris, Tara Coughlan, Conor Hurson, Emer Ahern, Jan SorensenJan Sorensen, Louise BrentLouise Brent
Hip fractures continue to be one of the most serious and costly injuries suffered by older people globally. This paper describes the development of a national hip fracture audit and summarises the first 6 years of data from the Republic of Ireland. This can help inform care, standards and outcomes of hip fracture patients.

Introduction: Ireland has one of the highest standardised rates of hip fracture in the world behind northern European countries. The Irish Hip Fracture Database (IHFD) was established in 2012 to drive clinical and organisational improvements in quality and effectiveness of hip fracture care. This paper describes the progression of the IHFD between 2013 and 2018 and identifies trends and areas for improvement.

Methods: The IHFD is a clinically led, web-based audit, with data collected through the national Hospital Inpatient Enquiry (HIPE) electronic system, the principal source of information from publicly funded acute hospitals in Ireland. Eligible cases are aged ≥ 60 years with hip fracture as defined by IHFD or with other specified hip fracture excluding periprosthetic fractures. As of 2015, all 16 trauma-receiving hospitals within Ireland submitted data. Demographics and adherence to six national quality standards are described.

Results: A total of 17,983 cases were included in the analysis. National coverage has increased from 63% in 2013 to 99% in 2018. Demographic characteristics are unchanged, but higher levels of comorbidity are seen. Internal fixation and hemiarthroplasty are the most common modes of surgical repair with two-thirds of cases receiving spinal rather than general anaesthesia. Increasingly patients are being assessed by a geriatrician (11% in 2013 to 69% in 2018) and receive a bone health assessment (65% in 2013 to 84% in 2018).

Conclusion: While some hip fracture standards have improved, further improvements are required to compare favourably internationally. Reduction of surgical delay and ensuring early mobilisation post-operatively are immediate priorities for the IHFD.


Quality Improvement Team of the Health Service Executive.



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Published Citation

Walsh ME et al. Trends in hip fracture care in the Republic of Ireland from 2013 to 2018: results from the Irish Hip Fracture Database. Osteoporos Int. 2021;32(4):727-736.

Publication Date

30 September 2020

PubMed ID



  • Health Outcomes Research Centre
  • National Office of Clinical Audit (NOCA)
  • HRB Centre for Primary Care Research
  • General Practice


Springer Nature


  • Accepted Version (Postprint)

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