Acta Orthopaedica, 86:2, 169-174, DOI: 10.3109/17453674.2014.971388

High risk of early periprosthetic fractures after primary hip arthroplasty in elderly patients using a cemented, tapered, polished stem

Cyrus Brodén, Sebastian Mukka, Olle Muren, Thomas Eisler, Henrik Boden, André Stark & Olof Sköldenberg

Background and purpose — Postoperative periprosthetic femoral fracture (PPF) after hip arthroplasty is associated with considerable morbidity and mortality. We assessed the incidence and characteristics of periprosthetic fractures in a consecutive cohort of elderly patients treated with a cemented, collarless, polished and tapered femoral stem (CPT).

Patients and methods — In this single-center prospective cohort study, we included 1,403 hips in 1,357 patients (mean age 82 (range 52–102) years, 72% women) with primary osteoarthritis (OA) or a femoral neck fracture (FNF) as indication for surgery (367 hips and 1,036 hips, respectively). 64% of patients were ASA class 3 or 4. Hip-related complications and need for repeat surgery were assessed at a mean follow-up time of 4 (1–7) years. A Cox regression analysis was used to evaluate risk factors associated with PPF.

Results — 47 hips (3.3%) sustained a periprosthetic fracture at median 7 (2–79) months postoperatively; 41 were comminute Vancouver B2 or complex C-type fractures. The fracture rate was 3.8% for FNF patients and 2.2% for OA patients (hazard ratio (HR) = 4; 95% CI: 1.3–12). Patients > 80 years of age also had a higher risk of fracture (HR = 2; 95% CI: 1.1–4.5).

Interpretation — We found a high incidence of early PPF associated with the CPT stem in this old and frail patient group. A possible explanation may be that the polished tapered stem acts as a wedge, splitting the femur after a direct hip contusion. Our results should be confirmed in larger, registry-based studies, but we advise caution when using this stem for this particular patient group.

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