Objective: The decision to perform total hip arthroplasty (THA) in patients with osteoarthritis (OA) of the hip is based largely on patients' reports of pain and disability and not on radiographic findings of OA. We determine the severity of radiographic OA and its association with disability in patients undergoing THA.
Methods: Individual radiographic features (osteophytes, joint space narrowing, sclerosis, cysts, deformity) and global severity of hip OA were assessed in 95 consecutive elderly patients with hip OA undergoing THA who were enrolled in a Patient Outcome Research Team (PORT) project.
Results: Eighty-seven patients (91.5%) had either severe or moderate OA in the hip to be replaced; 17% of these had a previous contralateral THA. Only 8 patients (8.4%) had mild or no signs of OA in the hip to be replaced and 4 (50%) of these patients had their opposite hip replaced previously.
Conclusion: These data indicate that radiographic features of moderate to severe hip OA are associated with clinical findings and the necessity to perform THA in the majority of patients. Patients who have had a prior hip replacement, however, may be more likely to have a contralateral replacement done earlier (p = 0.03), before radiographic signs are evident.