Validation of local anaesthetic hip arthrograms in the management of hip pain

Clarke, JV and Campbell, C and Murray, HM and Meek, RMD (2008) Validation of local anaesthetic hip arthrograms in the management of hip pain. Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, British Volume, 90-B (Supp I). p. 301. ISSN 0301-620X

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Despite clinical history, examination and plain radiography it is occasionally difficult to locate the origin of hip pain. This is particularly relevant where the management will be a total hip arthroplasty. Local anaesthetic arthrogram of the hip may provide a simple, safe and reliable test to determine if the hip is the source of the patient’s symptoms. The aim of this study was to establish the use of this investigation in the management of hip pain. All local anaesthetic hip arthrograms were reviewed from 1999 to 2005. All patients had completed a pain questionnaire following the arthrogram. Patients were classified into 3 groups; 1) Mild osteoarthritic changes on plain radiographs with possible referred pathology; 2) Minimal radiological changes but no obvious other pathology to refer pain; 3) Previous hip arthroplasty with unexplained pain. Those who subsequently had a primary or revision hip arthroplasty were assessed post-operatively by means of the Oxford hip score. Fifty-seven patients in total underwent a local anaesthetic hip arthrogram. From all the groups 34 patients obtained pain relief and 24 proceeded to primary or revision hip arthroplasty. Twenty three (96%) had a satisfactory post-operative outcome at an average follow-up of 2 years (average Oxford score 28). The remaining 10 patients with positive arthrograms are still waiting for surgery. All negative arthrogram patients were successfully discharged. A positive response to local anaesthetic hip arthrogram predicts a successful response to surgery. This permits accurate information of the results of hip surgery to be given to patients and aids in a management plan for a group of patients that can be otherwise challenging.