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Seventy-six female patients, having sustained a fracture of the neck of femur, were assessed preoperatively by measuring their muscle strength in the form of grip using a hand-held dynamometer and by measuring serum albumin. A grip strength of less than 15 kg was found to be a reliable predictor of subsequent postoperative complications in female patients over the age of 80. Serum albumin had no predictive value. There was no significant difference in complication rates between different surgeons.