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Paper Chase

Efficacy of a hip protector to prevent hip fracture in nursing home residents: the HIP PRO randomized controlled trial.

JAMA. 07 25, 2007;298(4):413-22.
Kiel DP, Magaziner J, Zimmerman S, Ball L, Barton BA, Brown KM, Stone JP, Dewkett D, Birge SJ.

Institute for Aging Research, Hebrew SeniorLife and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02131, USA.



Past studies of the efficacy of hip protectors to prevent hip fracture in nursing home residents have had conflicting results, possibly due to potential biases from clustered randomization designs and modest adherence to intervention.


To determine whether an energy-absorbing and energy-dispersing hip protector would reduce the risk of hip fracture when worn by nursing home residents.


Multicenter, randomized controlled clinical trial in which 37 nursing homes were randomly assigned to having residents wear a 1-sided hip protector on the left or right hip. Participants were 1042 nursing home residents (mean [SD] aged 85 [7] years; 79% women) who consented and adhered to the hip protector use during a 2-week run-in period and were enrolled. Participating facilities were in greater Boston, Massachusetts, St Louis, Missouri, and Baltimore, Maryland from October 2002 to October 2004. Mean duration of participation for nursing home residents was 7.8 months. None were withdrawn because of adverse effects.


Undergarments with a 1-sided hip protector made of a 0.32-cm outer layer of polyethylene (2.7 kg/m3) backed by a hard high-density polyethylene shield (0.95 cm) that was backed by 0.9 kg/m3 of 1.27-kg ethylene vinyl acetate foam. Each facility was visited 3 times per week to assess adherence and provide staff support.


Adjudicated hip fracture occurrences on padded vs unpadded hips.


After a 20-month follow-up (676 person-years of observation), the study was terminated due to a lack of efficacy. The incidence rate of hip fracture on protected vs unprotected hips did not differ (3.1%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.8%-4.4% vs 2.5%; 95% CI, 1.3%-3.7%; P = .70). For the 334 nursing home residents with greater than 80% adherence to hip protector use, the incidence rate of hip fracture on protected vs unprotected hips did not differ (5.3%; 95% CI, 2.6%-8.8% vs 3.5%; 95% CI, 1.3%-5.7%; P = .42). Overall adherence was 73.8%.


In this clinical trial of an energy-absorbing/shunting hip protector conducted in US nursing homes, we were unable to detect a protective effect on the risk of hip fracture, despite good adherence to protocol. These results add to the increasing body of evidence that hip protectors, as currently designed, are not effective for preventing hip fracture among nursing home residents.

TRIAL REGISTRATION Identifier: NCT00058864.