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BMC Med. 2012; 10: 18.
Published online 2012 February 16. doi:  10.1186/1741-7015-10-18
PMCID: PMC3364856

What is the evidence base to guide surgical treatment of infected hip prostheses? systematic review of longitudinal studies in unselected patients

Abstract

Background

Prosthetic joint infection is an uncommon but serious complication of hip replacement. There are two main surgical treatment options, with the choice largely based on the preference of the surgeon. Evidence is required regarding the comparative effectiveness of one-stage and two-stage revision to prevent reinfection after prosthetic joint infection.

Methods

We conducted a systematic review to identify randomised controlled trials, systematic reviews and longitudinal studies in unselected patients with infection treated exclusively by one- or two-stage methods or by any method. The Embase, MEDLINE and Cochrane databases were searched up to March 2011. Reference lists were checked, and citations of key articles were identified by using the ISI Web of Science portal. Classification of studies and data extraction were performed independently by two reviewers. The outcome measure studied was reinfection within 2 years. Data were combined to produce pooled random-effects estimates using the Freeman-Tukey arc-sine transformation.

Results

We identified 62 relevant studies comprising 4,197 patients. Regardless of treatment, the overall rate of reinfection after any treatment was 10.1% (95% CI = 8.2 to 12.0). In 11 studies comprising 1,225 patients with infected hip prostheses who underwent exclusively one-stage revision, the rate of reinfection was 8.6% (95% CI = 4.5 to 13.9). After two-stage revision exclusively in 28 studies comprising 1,188 patients, the rate of reinfection was 10.2% (95% CI = 7.7 to 12.9).

Conclusion

Evidence of the relative effectiveness of one- and two-stage revision in preventing reinfection of hip prostheses is largely based on interpretation of longitudinal studies. There is no suggestion in the published studies that one- or two stage methods have different reinfection outcomes. Randomised trials are needed to establish optimum management strategies.

Keywords: hip replacement, hip arthroplasty, infection, revision, systematic review

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