Abstract

Our aim in this study was to determine the outcome of hip arthroplasty with regard to infection at our unit. Infection after total joint arthroplasty is a devastating complication. The MRC study in 1984 recommended using vertical laminar flow and prophylactic antibiotics to reduce infection rates. These measures are now routinely used. Between 1993 and 1996, 1727 primary total hip arthroplasties and 305 revision hip arthroplasties were performed and 1567 of the primary and 284 of the revision arthroplasties were reviewed between five and eight years after surgery by means of a postal questionnaire, telephone interview or examination of the medical records of those who had died.

Seventeen (1.08%) of the patients who underwent primary and six (2.1%) of those who underwent revision arthroplasty had a post-operative infection. Only 0.45% of patients who underwent primary arthroplasty required revision for infection.

To our knowledge this is the largest multi-surgeon audit of infection after total hip replacement in the UK. The follow-up of between five and eight years is longer than that of most comparable studies. Our study has shown that a large cohort of surgeons of varying seniority can achieve infection rates of 1% and revision rates for infection of less than 0.5%.

  • Received December 16, 2002.
  • Accepted May 16, 2003.