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IMPORTANCE: Delayed diagnosis of a dislocated hip in infants can lead to complex childhood surgery, interruption to family life, and premature osteoarthritis. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of clinical examination in identifying dislocated hips in infants. DATA SOURCES: Systematic search of CINAHL, Embase, MEDLINE, and the Cochrane Library from the inception of each database until October 31, 2023. STUDY SELECTION: The 9 included studies reported the diagnostic accuracy of the clinical examination (index test) in infants aged 3 months or younger and a diagnostic hip ultrasound (reference test). The Graf method of ultrasound assessment was used to classify hip abnormalities. DATA EXTRACTION AND SYNTHESIS: The Rational Clinical Examination scale was used to assign levels of evidence and the Quality Assessment of Diagnostic Accuracy Studies tool was used to assess bias. Data were extracted using the individual hip as the unit of analysis; the data were pooled when the clinical examinations were evaluated by 3 or more of the included studies. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Sensitivity, specificity, and likelihood ratios (LRs) of identifying a dislocated hip were calculated. RESULTS: Among infants screened with a clinical examination and a diagnostic ultrasound in 5 studies, the prevalence of a dislocated hip (n = 37 859 hips) was 0.94% (95% CI, 0.28%-2.0%). There were 8 studies (n = 44 827 hips) that evaluated use of the Barlow maneuver and the Ortolani maneuver (dislocate and relocate an unstable hip); the maneuvers had a sensitivity of 46% (95% CI, 26%-67%), a specificity of 99.1% (95% CI, 97.9%-99.6%), a positive LR of 52 (95% CI, 21-127), and a negative LR of 0.55 (95% CI, 0.37-0.82). There were 3 studies (n = 22 472 hips) that evaluated limited hip abduction and had a sensitivity of 13% (95% CI, 3.3%-37%), a specificity of 97% (95% CI, 87%-99%), a positive LR of 3.6 (95% CI, 0.72-18), and a negative LR of 0.91 (95% CI, 0.76-1.1). One study (n = 13 096 hips) evaluated a clicking sound and had a sensitivity of 13% (95% CI, 6.4%-21%), a specificity of 92% (95% CI, 92%-93%), a positive LR of 1.6 (95% CI, 0.91-2.8), and a negative LR of 0.95 (95% CI, 0.88-1.0). CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: In studies in which all infant hips were screened for developmental dysplasia of the hip, the prevalence of a dislocated hip was 0.94%. A positive LR for the Barlow and Ortolani maneuvers was the finding most associated with an increased likelihood of a dislocated hip. Limited hip abduction or a clicking sound had no clear diagnostic utility.

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