Proximal femoral nailing is superior to hemiarthroplasty in AO/OTA A2 and A3 intertrochanteric femur fractures in the elderly: a systematic literature review and meta-analysis

  • Prasoon Kumar
  • Rajesh Kumar Rajnish
  • Siddhartha Sharma
  • Mandeep Singh DhillonEmail author
Review Article



Unstable intertrochanteric femoral fractures in the elderly require either fixation or joint sacrificing surgery; proximal femoral nail (PFN) and bipolar hemiarthroplasties (BPH) are the most common interventions. PFN is considered to be the ideal construct for these fractures; however, the usage of hemiarthroplasties to facilitate earlier mobilization has been on a rise. Currently there is no consensus on the superiority of one of these two techniques over the other and the present review was done to determine this.

Research question

Is PFN a better alternative to BPH for unstable intertrochanteric femur fractures in the elderly?


The present systematic review and meta-analysis was conducted to determine the superiority of PFN over BPH by comparing the primary outcomes like mortality, Harris Hip scores (HHS), complications, and re-operations. Additionally, secondary outcomes like blood loss, duration of surgery, and period of hospital stays were also compared.


Three databases of PubMed, EMBASE, and SCOPUS were searched for relevant articles that directly compared PFN and BPH in unstable intertrochanteric femur fractures in the elderly.


We analyzed a total of seven studies published between the years 2005 to 2017. There were four retrospective and three prospective randomized controlled studies. The number of patients in these studies ranged from 53 to 303.

Primary outcomes

There was a significant difference in HHS between two groups with standard mean difference of − 0.51 (range − 0.67 to −0.36), favouring the PFN group. The rate of mortality was higher in the BPH group with odds ratio of 2.07 (range 1.40–3.08). Implant-related complications like fractures and subsidence were more in BPH group but this was not significant.

Secondary outcomes

Mean surgical time (standard mean difference 2.19) and blood loss (3.75) were significantly less in the PFN group. The duration of hospital stay was also found to be significantly less in the PFN group (2.66).


Proximal femoral nails are superior to bipolar hemiarthroplasties for unstable intertrochanteric femoral fractures in the elderly. PFN imparts better functional outcomes and has lower rates of overall mortality. Additionally it is faster surgery, with lesser blood loss contributing to better results.


Proximal femoral nail PFN Bipolar hemiarthroplasty BPH HHS Unstable intertrochanteric fractures 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© SICOT aisbl 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of OrthopaedicsPost Graduate Institute of Medical Education and ResearchChandigarhIndia

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