Initial metal ion levels predict risk of elevation in metal on metal total hip arthroplasty. HIP International. 2020;30(5):592-597.

Initial metal ion levels predict risk of elevation in metal on metal total hip arthroplasty

Martin JR, Odum SM, Springer BD, Griffin WL.

Screening protocols for asymptomatic patients with metal on metal (MoM) total hip arthroplasty (THA) are evolving. Most surgeons began screening patients around 2010 by obtaining cobalt (Co) and chromium (Cr) metal ion levels. There is currently no data available to guide repeat screening in this familiar clinical scenario. Therefore, the following study evaluated how metal ion levels change after an initial metal ion level in patients with MoM THAs.

171 consecutive patients (265 hips) underwent primary MoM THA. All patients had at least one Co and Cr ion level draw. 84 patients (136 hips) had 2 ion level draws. Ion levels were divided into elevated levels (⩾4.5 ppb) and normal levels (<4.5 ppb). The probability of an ion level returning elevated after an initial normal level was identified. Additionally, a threshold value was determined that reliably identified every patient that did not subsequently rise above 4.5 ppb.

12 metal ion levels were ⩾4.5 ppb on the first lab draw. On the second draw, all 12 remained ⩾4.5 ppb. Of the 121 hips with initial metal ion levels <4.5 ppb, 5 metal ion levels became ⩾4.5 ppb. Utilising an initial screening cutoff of 3.0 ppb, no patient was identified with a second lab value ⩾4.5 ppb.

Initial metal ion levels reliably predicted those that would remain elevated or remain normal with a subsequent metal ion level. An initial metal ion level above 3.0 ppb may represent a cutoff at which further workup is necessary.

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