Background: Physical activity in elderly patients is crucial for recovery from proximal femoral fractures. Considering the limited possibilities for objective measurement, we aimed to evaluate the use of an accelerometer in this population to determine activity's association with functional independence, quality of life, and course of recovery.
Methods: 52 patients undergoing operative treatment for proximal femur fractures (81.3 ± 7.5 years) were included in a prospective cohort study. 12 patients with fall but without fracture of the lower extremities (80.8 ± 9.5 years) served as control. An Axivity AX3 tracker continuously recorded signal vector magnitudes during the hospital stay. Additionally, 2 ± 1 and 8 ± 3 days (time point 1 and 2) after operation EuroQol-5D and Barthel-20 indices were evaluated.
Results: Physical activity increased in all patients with time. Multiple regression analyses revealed that a high Barthel-20 before fracture, a low age, a high body mass index, high albumin, and low C-reactive protein levels were independent predictors for high physical activity at time point 1 ( p < 0.05). Physical activity correlated significantly with EuroQol-5D and Barthel-20 at time point 1 and 2 ( p < 0.02). Furthermore, physical activity at time point 1 predicted EuroQol-5D, physical activity, and Barthel-20 at time point 2 ( p < 0.01). A multiple regression demonstrated equal physical activity in patients with or without a hip fracture.
Conclusions: Accelerometer signals correlate with postoperative physical activity, Barthel-20 and quality of life in elderly patients. Physical activity is thereby positively influenced by a high prefall functional independence and a good nutrition status. A timely and adequate operation provided, there is no difference between patients with or without a fracture. This trial is registered with DRKS 00011934 on 10 th April 2017.