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Metal-on-metal total hip arthroplasty is not associated with cardiac disease

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Many case reports and small studies have suggested that cobalt ions are a potential cause of cardiac complications, specifically cardiomyopathy, after metal-on-metal (MoM) total hip arthroplasty (THA). The impact of metal ions on the incidence of cardiac disease after MoM THA has not been evaluated in large studies. The aim of this study was to compare the rate of onset of new cardiac symptoms in patients who have undergone MoM THA with those who have undergone metal-on-polyethylene (MoP) THA.

Patients and Methods

Data were extracted from the Standard Analytics Files database for patients who underwent MoM THA between 2005 and 2012. Bearing surface was selected using International Classification of Diseases ninth revision codes. Patients with a minimum five-year follow-up were selected. An age and gender-matched cohort of patients who underwent MoP THA served as a comparison group. New diagnoses of cardiac disease were collected during the follow-up period. Comorbidities and demographics were identified and routine descriptive statistics were used.


We identified 29 483 patients who underwent MoM THA and 24 175 matched patients who underwent MoP THA. Both groups had a mean Charlson comorbidity index score of 4. There were no statistically significant differences in 30 of 31 pre-existing comorbidities. Patients undergoing MoM THA had a slightly lower incidence of cardiac failure compared with those undergoing MoP THA at three years (6.60% versus 7.06%, odds ratio (OR) 0.93, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.87 to 0.99) and four years (8.73% versus 9.49%, OR 0.91, 95% CI 0.86 to 0.97) postoperatively, with no difference in the incidence of new cardiac failure in between the groups at five years. There was no statistically significant difference in the incidence of arrhythmia, myocardial infarction and cardiomyopathy at any time between the two groups.


MoM THA is not associated with cardiac complications. Initial reports may have represented individual instances of cardiac disease in patients with a failing MoM articulation rather than an emerging epidemiological trend.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2018;100-B:28–32.

Correspondence should be sent to D. F. Amanatullah; email:

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