Background: Hip fracture is one of the most common orthopedic causes of hospital admission in frail elderly patients. Hip fracture fixation in this class of patients is considered a high-risk procedure. Preoperative physical examination, plasma natriuretic peptide levels (BNP, Pro-BNP), and cardiovascular scoring systems (ASA-PS, RCRI, NSQIPMICA) have all been demonstrated to underestimate the risk of postoperative complications. We designed a prospective multicenter observational study to assess whether preoperative lung ultrasound examination can predict better postoperative events thanks to the additional information they provide in the form of"indirect" and "direct" cardiac and pulmonary lung ultrasound signs.Methods: LUSHIP is an Italian multicenter prospective observational study. Patients will be recruited on a nationwide scale in the 12 participating centers. Patients aged > 65 years undergoing spinal anesthesia for hip fracture fixation will be enrolled. A lung ultrasound score (LUS) will be generated based on the examination of six areas of each lung and ascribing to each area one of the four recognized aeration patterns-each of which is assigned a subscore of 0, 1, 2, or 3. Thus, the total score will have the potential to range from a minimum of 0 to a maximum of 36. The association between 30-day postoperative complications of cardiac and/or pulmonary origin and the overall mortality will be studied. Considering the fact that cardiac complications in patients undergoing hip surgery occur in approx. 30% of cases, to achieve 80% statistical power, we will need a sample size of 877 patients considering a relative risk of 1.5.Conclusions: Lung ultrasound (LU), as a tool within the anesthesiologist's armamentarium, is becoming increasingly widespread, and its use in the preoperative setting is also starting to become more common. Should the study demonstrate the ability of LU to predict postoperative cardiac and pulmonary complications in hip fracture patients, a randomized clinical trial will be designed with the scope of improving patient outcome.
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