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AIMS: To assess the feasibility of a randomized controlled trial (RCT) that compares three treatments for acetabular fractures in older patients: surgical fixation, surgical fixation and hip arthroplasty (fix-and-replace), and non-surgical treatment. METHODS: Patients were recruited from seven UK NHS centres and randomized to a three-arm pilot trial if aged older than 60 years and had a displaced acetabular fracture. Feasibility outcomes included patients' willingness to participate, clinicians' capability to recruit, and dropout rates. The primary clinical outcome measure was the EuroQol five-dimension questionnaire (EQ-5D) at six months. Secondary outcomes were Oxford Hip Score, Disability Rating Index, blood loss, and radiological and mobility assessments. RESULTS: Between December 2017 and December 2019, 60 patients were recruited (median age 77.4 years, range 63.3 to 88.5) (39/21 M/F ratio). At final nine-month follow-up, 4/60 (7%) had withdrawn, 4/60 (7%) had died, and one had been lost to follow-up; a 98% response rate (50/51) was achieved for the EQ-5D questionnaire. Four deaths were recorded during the three-year trial period: three in the non-surgical treatment group and one in the fix-and-replace group. CONCLUSION: This study has shown a full-scale RCT to be feasible, but will need international recruitment. The Acetabular Fractures in older patients Intervention Trial (AceFIT) has informed the design of a multinational RCT sample size of 1,474 or 1,974 patients for a minimal clinically important difference of 0.06 on EQ-5D, with a power of 0.8 or 0.9, and loss to follow-up of 20%. This observed patient cohort comprises a medically complex group requiring multidisciplinary care; surgeon, anaesthetist, and ortho-geriatrician input is needed to optimize recovery and rehabilitation.

Original publication




Journal article


Bone Joint J

Publication Date





401 - 411


Humans, Aged, Middle Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Feasibility Studies, Hip Fractures, Spinal Fractures, Research Design, Arthroplasty, Replacement, Treatment Outcome