OBJECTIVE: To summarize and compare the diagnostic accuracy of contrast and subtraction arthrography in the assessment of aseptic loosening of total hip arthroplasties.
DESIGN: This meta-analysis was performed using methods described by the Cochrane Methods Group on Systematic Reviews of Screening and Diagnostic Tests. We included original, English-language papers published between January 1975 to October 2004 that examined contrast-enhanced arthrography with or without subtraction for diagnosis of loosening of total hip prostheses. A qualitative and quantitative analysis was performed by two investigators.
RESULTS: With regard to the acetabular component, pooled sensitivity and specificity for contrast arthrography was 70% (95% confidence interval, 52-84) and 74% (95% CI, 53-87), respectively. Subtraction arthrography had a significantly higher sensitivity of 89% (95% CI, 84-93) (p=0.01), with a similar specificity of 76% (95% CI, 68-82). For the femoral component, pooled sensitivity and specificity for contrast arthrography were 63% (95% CI, 53-72) and 78% (95% CI, 68-86). Pooled estimates for subtraction arthrography revealed a significantly higher sensitivity of 86% (95% CI, 74-93) (p=0.003). Specificity was 85% (95% CI, 77-91) and was similar to the data of contrast arthrography (p=0.23).
CONCLUSION: Using the present data we found that the subtraction arthrography is a sensitive technique for detection of loosening of total hip prostheses, offering added value over contrast arthrography, especially for evaluation of the femoral component.