Adverse outcomes following pelvic fracture: the critical role of frailty

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



European journal of trauma and emergency surgery : official publication of the European Trauma Society




Failure-to-rescue; Frailty; Geriatric patients; Morbidity; Mortality; Pelvic fracture


PURPOSE: Pelvic fractures among older adults are associated with an increased risk of adverse outcomes, with frailty likely being a contributing factor. The current study endeavors to describe the association between frailty, measured using the Orthopedic Frailty Score (OFS), and adverse outcomes in geriatric pelvic fracture patients. METHODS: All geriatric (65 years or older) patients registered in the 2013-2019 Trauma Quality Improvement Program database with an isolated pelvic fracture following blunt trauma were considered for inclusion. An isolated pelvic fracture was defined as any fracture in the pelvis with a lower extremity AIS ≥ 2, any abdomen AIS, and an AIS ≤ 1 in all other regions. Poisson regression models were employed to determine the association between the OFS and adverse outcomes. RESULTS: A total of 66,404 patients were included for further analysis. 52% (N = 34,292) were classified as non-frail (OFS 0), 32% (N = 21,467) were pre-frail (OFS 1), and 16% (N = 10,645) were classified as frail (OFS ≥ 2). Compared to non-frail patients, frail patients exhibited a 88% increased risk of in-hospital mortality [adjusted IRR (95% CI): 1.88 (1.54-2.30), p < 0.001], a 25% increased risk of complications [adjusted IRR (95% CI): 1.25 (1.10-1.42), p < 0.001], a 56% increased risk of failure-to-rescue [adjusted IRR (95% CI): 1.56 (1.14-2.14), p = 0.006], and a 10% increased risk of ICU admission [adjusted IRR (95% CI): 1.10 (1.02-1.18), p = 0.014]. CONCLUSION: Frail pelvic fracture patients suffer from a disproportionately increased risk of mortality, complications, failure-to-rescue, and ICU admission. Additional measures are required to mitigate adverse events in this vulnerable patient population.