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Bone cement

Here is an article in the current BMJ Open regarding concerns about excess mortality in patients undergoing hip surgery to treat an acute fracture. There are also concerns about a small increase in mortality in patients who have a cemented hip replacement for osteoarthritis. This is a hugely controversial topic in British orthopaedics at the moment. Many hip surgeons like me prefer to use uncemented components for hip surgery because we believe that the outcome is better, and there is no risk of a reaction to bone cement. Balancing risk and benefit is more art than science sometimes, but a full and frank conversation with your surgeon should reassure that he has your best interests at heart, and that he will choose the right procedure for you.

Abstract

Objective To estimate the risk of death or severe harm due to bone cement implantation syndrome (BCIS) among patients undergoing hip hemiarthroplasty for fractured neck of femur.

Setting Hospitals providing secondary and tertiary care throughout the National Health Service (NHS) in England and Wales.

Participants Cases reported to the National Reporting and Learning System (NRLS) in which the reporter clearly describes severe acute patient deterioration associated with cement use in hip hemiarthroplasty for fractured neck of femur (assessed independently by two reviewers).

Outcome measures Primary—number of reported deaths, cardiac arrests and periarrests per year. Secondary—timing of deterioration and outcome in relation to cement insertion.

Results Between 2005 and 2012, the NRLS received 62 reports that clearly describe death or severe harm associated with the use of cement in hip hemiarthroplasty for fractured neck of femur. There was one such incident for every 2900 hemiarthroplasties for fractured neck of femur during the period. Of the 62 reports, 41 patients died, 14 were resuscitated from cardiac arrest and 7 from periarrest. Most reports (55/62, 89%) describe acute deterioration occurring during or within a few minutes of cement insertion. The vast majority of deaths (33/41, 80%) occurred on the operating table.

Conclusions These reports provide narrative evidence from England and Wales that cement use in hip hemiarthroplasty for fractured neck of femur is associated with instances of perioperative death or severe harm consistent with BCIS. In 2009, the National Patient Safety Agency publicised this issue and encouraged the use of mitigation measures. Three-quarters of the deaths in this study have occurred since that alert, suggesting incomplete implementation or effectiveness of those mitigation measures. There is a need for stronger evidence that weighs the risks and benefits of cement in hip hemiarthroplasty for fractured neck of femur.

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    Total Hip Replacement or THR is one of the most successful hip operations in orthopaedic surgery. Tens of thousands of hip replacements are performed each year…

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  • Hip Resurfacing

    Hip resurfacing was developed to treat painful arthritis in younger and active patients. It’s now an established technique, and the results are usually excellent in carefully selected patients…

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  • Revision Hip Surgery

    Hip replacement surgery can be life changing for those dealing with pain on a daily basis. Unfortunately, even a replacement hip can wear out…

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  • Hip Replacement

    Total Hip Replacement or THR is one of the most successful hip operations in orthopaedic surgery. Thousands of hip replacements are performed each year…

    Click here to find out more
  • Hip Resurfacing

    Hip resurfacing was developed to treat painful arthritis in younger and active patients. It’s a relatively new technique, but the results are usually excellent…

    Click here to find out more
  • Revision Hip Surgery

    Hip replacement surgery can be life changing for those dealing with pain on a daily basis. Unfortunately, even a replacement hip can wear out…

    Click here to find out more