Thursday, August 2, 2012

Why should you use an MARS MRI protocal when following hips?

2012 Aug;94(8):1045-50.

The sensitivity, specificity and predictive values of raised plasma metal ion levels in the diagnosis of adverse reaction to metal debris in symptomatic patients with a metal-on-metal arthroplasty of the hip.


Wales Deanery, Neuadd Meirionnydd, Heath Park, Cardiff, CF14 4YS, UK.


Plasma levels of cobalt and chromium ions and Metal Artefact Reduction Sequence (MARS)-MRI scans were performed on patients with 209 consecutive, unilateral, symptomatic metal-on-metal (MoM) hip arthroplasties. There was wide variation in plasma cobalt and chromium levels, and MARS-MRI scans were positive for adverse reaction to metal debris (ARMD) in 84 hips (40%). There was a significant difference in the median plasma cobalt and chromium levels between those with positive and negative MARS-MRI scans (p < 0.001). Compared with MARS-MRI as the potential reference standard for the diagnosis of ARMD, the sensitivity of metal ion analysis for cobalt or chromium with a cut-off of > 7 µg/l was 57%. The specificity was 65%, positive predictive value was 52% and the negative predictive value was 69% in symptomatic patients. A lowered threshold of > 3.5 µg/l for cobalt and chromium ion levels improved the sensitivity and negative predictive value to 86% and 74% but at the expense of specificity (27%) and positive predictive value (44%). Metal ion analysis is not recommended as a sole indirect screening test in the surveillance of symptomatic patients with a MoM arthroplasty. The investigating clinicians should have a low threshold for obtaining cross-sectional imaging in these patients, even in the presence of low plasma metal ion levels.

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