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Negative predictive value of CT for occult fractures of the hip and pelvis with imaging follow-up



To determine the negative predictive value of multidetector CT for radiographically occult fracture of the hip or pelvis in an elderly population presenting to the emergency department.


Two hundred thirty-seven elderly patients with suspected fracture were identified over a 5-year period with negative radiographs acquired in the emergency department followed by an index CT of the hip/pelvis within 24 h. There were 81 cases with a negative index CT, as determined by 2 musculoskeletal radiologists, and with some form of imaging follow-up (MRI, CT, or x-ray) performed within 18 months of the index CT. Follow-up imaging was reviewed by 2 musculoskeletal radiologists for the presence of fracture to determine the performance of the index CT. The electronic medical record was used to exclude the possibility of intervening trauma between the time of the index CT and follow-up imaging.


There were 39 cases with follow-up imaging performed within 6 weeks of the negative index CT, and 42 with follow-up imaging within 6 weeks to 18 months of the negative index CT. Eight of 81 patients demonstrated a fracture on follow-up imaging, with 3 of 8 involving the femoral neck or intertrochanteric femur. The negative predictive value of the index CT for the detection of a radiographically occult hip or pelvic fracture was 90.1%. If considering only surgically relevant fractures (femoral neck and intertrochanteric fractures), the negative predictive value improved to 96.3%.


Computed tomography for occult hip fractures has a high negative predictive value but there are cases not detected with surgical implications.

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All data is available in the manuscript.


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Correspondence to Andrew H. Haims.

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Conflict of interest

Andrew Haims, Fracture Adjudication Committee member (consultant) Pfizer Inc.

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The IRB at our institution granted a waiver as this was a retrospective study.

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This was a retrospective study and was granted a waiver by our IRB.

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Haims, A.H., Wang, A., Yoo, B.J. et al. Negative predictive value of CT for occult fractures of the hip and pelvis with imaging follow-up. Emerg Radiol 28, 259–264 (2021).

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  • Computerized tomography
  • Occult hip fracture