Listed in Issue 200


ABOU-SETTA and COLLEAGUES, University of Alberta Evidence-based Practice Center, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. reviewed the benefits and harms of pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic interventions for managing pain after hip fracture.


Pain management is integral to the management of hip fracture.


25 electronic databases (January 1990 to December 2010), gray literature, trial registries, and reference lists, with no language restrictions. Multiple reviewers independently and in duplicate screened 9357 citations to identify randomized, controlled trials (RCTs); nonrandomized, controlled trials (non-RCTs); and cohort studies of pain management techniques in older adults after acute hip fracture. Independent, duplicate data extraction and quality assessment were conducted, with discrepancies resolved by consensus or a third reviewer. Data extracted included study characteristics, inclusion and exclusion criteria, participant characteristics, interventions, and outcomes. 83 unique studies (64 RCTs, 5 non-RCTs, and 14 cohort studies) were included that addressed nerve blockade (n = 32), spinal anesthesia (n = 30), systemic analgesia (n = 3), traction (n = 11), multimodal pain management (n = 2), neurostimulation (n = 2), rehabilitation (n = 1), and complementary and alternative medicine (n = 2).


Overall, moderate evidence suggests that nerve blockades are effective for relieving acute pain and reducing delirium. Low-level evidence suggests that preoperative traction does not reduce acute pain. Evidence was insufficient on the benefits and harms of most interventions, including spinal anesthesia, systemic analgesia, multimodal pain management, acupressure, relaxation therapy, transcutaneous electrical neurostimulation, and physical therapy regimens, in managing acute pain. Limitations: No studies evaluated outcomes of chronic pain or exclusively examined participants from nursing homes or with cognitive impairment. Systemic analgesics (narcotics, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) were understudied during the search period.


Nerve blockade seems to be effective in reducing acute pain after hip fracture. Sparse data preclude firm conclusions about the relative benefits or harms of many other pain management interventions for patients with hip fracture.


Abou-Setta AM, Beaupre LA, Rashiq S, Dryden DM, Hamm MP, Sadowski CA, Menon MR, Majumdar SR, Wilson DM, Karkhaneh M, Mousavi SS, Wong K, Tjosvold L, Jones CA. Comparative effectiveness of pain management interventions for hip fracture: a systematic review. Annals of Internal Medicine. 155(4): 234-45. Aug 16 2011.

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