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Hip Int. 2014 Dec 5;24(6):568-74. doi: 10.5301/hipint.5000179. Epub 2014 Jul 31.

Self-reported neurological clinical manifestations of metal toxicity in metal-on-metal hip arthroplasty.

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  • 11 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Traumatology, Isala Clinics, Zwolle - The Netherlands.


Adverse reactions to metal particle debris have been increasingly reported as a complication following large head metal-on-metal (MoM) hip arthroplasty. Elevated metal ion levels are a cause for concern. The aim of this study is to evaluate whether exposure to cobalt is associated with patient characteristics and symptoms of neuropathy, representing nervous system dysfunction. A cross-sectional study was conducted comparing patients with a MoM total hip arthroplasty and patients with a conventional hip arthroplasty. They received three questionnaires, one to assess neurotoxic complaints and two standardised self-administered questionnaires to identify symptoms that are suggestive of peripheral neuropathy. Current and historical data were available for whole blood cobalt levels in all patients. We analysed potential predictive factors for cobalt based on five different cut-off levels (0-2, 2-4, 4-10, 10-20, >20 µg/L). We performed 723 MoM total hip arthroplasties in 643 patients in our clinic. The response rate was 89%. Male-female ratio was 236/280, median age 63.6 years (30-72) with a mean follow-up of 50.6 months (20-86). We also sent the questionnaires to 98 patients in the control group. An increase in the incidence of reported symptoms was not consistent with higher serum cobalt levels. Female gender was the only consistent predictive factor for serum cobalt at different cobalt cut-off levels in the multivariate analysis. The study population did not show an increase in reported symptoms with elevated cobalt levels. Neurotoxic symptoms and whole blood cobalt levels did not show a consistent relationship with different dichotomised levels of cobalt exposure.

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