No difference in outcomes for spinal vs. general anesthesia in hip surgery patients: study


Using spinal anesthesia for hip surgery patients did not result in better outcomes than using general anesthesia in older adults, according to a study published Oct. 9 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The study compared the two anesthesia methods on the ability to walk in older patients who had surgery for a hip fracture. Researchers conducted a pragmatic, randomized superiority trial to evaluate 1,600 patients who were at least 50 years old in the U.S. and Canada. They were randomly chosen to receive spinal or general anesthesia for surgery.

An inability to walk independently after surgery was reported in 15.2 percent of spinal anesthesia patients and 14.1 percent in general anesthesia patients. Delirium occured in 20.5 percent of spinal anesthesia patients and 19.7 percent of general anesthesia patients.

Researchers concluded, "Spinal anesthesia for hip-fracture surgery in older adults was not superior to general anesthesia with respect to survival and recovery of ambulation at 60 days. The incidence of postoperative delirium was similar with the two types of anesthesia."

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