Thirteen (10 per cent) of 133 patients who had venography on admission to the hospital for a fracture about the hip had radiographic evidence of deep-vein thrombosis. Only seven (6 per cent) of the 122 patients who were seen at the hospital within two days after the fracture had evidence of thrombosis. However, six of the eleven patients who had a delay of more than two days between the fracture and admission to the hospital had evidence of thrombosis. Although there was no significant difference between these two groups with respect to the mean age, sex distribution, frequency of fracture type, or history of deep-vein thrombosis, there was a significant difference in the prevalence of thrombosis in the patients who had a delay before admission to the hospital compared with those who did not (p < 0.001).
These results suggest that there is a substantial risk of venous thromboembolic disease in patients who have a fracture about the hip, regardless of whether or not they have had an operation, and that this risk increases if the time to presentation is delayed. Consequently, patients for whom there was a delay between a fracture about the hip and admission to the hospital should be considered to be at high risk for, and should be evaluated for, deep-vein thrombosis preoperatively.