Derriford Hospital operates a routine weekday, pre-operative, targeted bedside echocardiography examination on all patients admitted with a hip fracture.
We carried out a prospective service evaluation for 13 months from October 2007 on all 501 admissions, of which 374 (75%) underwent pre-operative echocardiography.
Of those patients investigated, 8 (2%) had severe, 24 (6%) moderate and 113 (30%) had mild aortic stenosis or aortic sclerosis. Eighty-seven of 278 (31%) patients with no murmur detected clinically on admission had aortic stenosis on echocardiography and of the 96 patients in whom a murmur was heard pre-operatively, 30 (31%) had a normal echocardiogram.
Detection of a murmur does not necessarily reflect the presence of underling aortic valve disease. However, if a murmur is heard then the likelihood of the lesion's being moderate or severe aortic stenosis is increased (OR 8.5; 95% CI 3.8-19.5). Forty-four (12%) of our unselected patients with fractured femur had either moderate or severe aortic stenosis (with or without moderate or severe left ventricular failure), or mild stenosis with moderately or severely impaired left ventricular function.