The Journal of Arthroplasty , Volume 33 , Issue 9 , 3020 - 3024

The Cobalt/Chromium Ratio Provides Similar Diagnostic Value to a Low Cobalt Threshold in Predicting Adverse Local Tissue Reactions in Patients With Metal-on-Metal Hip Arthroplasty

Laaksonen, Inari et al.


A higher cobalt/chromium (Co/Cr) ratio is thought to be associated with corrosion of the trunnion and increased adverse local tissue reaction (ALTR) risk in patients treated with metal-on-metal (MoM) hip arthroplasty. The main aim of this study was to investigate the diagnostic value of Co/Cr ratio in identifying ALTR in patients treated with MoM hip resurfacing arthroplasty and total hip arthroplasty (THA).


A total of 310 unilateral patients were included. All patients received a metal artifact reduction sequence magnetic resonance imaging to detect ALTR. Blood Co and Cr levels were measured.


MoM THA patients had a higher Co/Cr ratio than MoM hip resurfacing arthroplasty patients (1.7, interquartile range 1.2-3.1 vs 0.9, interquartile range 0.7-1.3, P < .001). The continuous Co/Cr ratio, continuous Co, and Co ≥ 7 ppb were predictive of ALTR when tested in receiver-operating characteristic analyses. The most sensitive and specific cutoffs were found to be 1.4 for Co/Cr ratio (sensitivity = 80.0%; specificity = 48.7%) and 2.4 ppb for Co (sensitivity = 77.8%; specificity = 46.2%). In multivariate analysis, continuous Co, Co ≥ 7 ppb, and the receiver-operating characteristic analysis–generated cutoffs were associated with ALTR prevalence.


Blood metal ions are strong, but not perfect, predictors of ALTR in patients with MoM hip arthroplasty. Higher Co/Cr ratios are associated with increased risk for ALTR in MoM THA. However, blood Co levels alone are as good a predictor of ALTR as the Co/Cr ratio. The most ALTR-sensitive cutoffs are lower than previously reported in the literature.

Download article