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AIMS: We investigated whether blood metal ion levels could effectively identify patients with bilateral Birmingham Hip Resurfacing (BHR) implants who have adverse reactions to metal debris (ARMD). PATIENTS AND METHODS: Metal ion levels in whole blood were measured in 185 patients with bilateral BHRs. Patients were divided into those with ARMD who either had undergone a revision for ARMD or had ARMD on imaging (n = 30), and those without ARMD (n = 155). Receiver operating characteristic analysis was used to determine the optimal thresholds of blood metal ion levels for identifying patients with ARMD. RESULTS: The maximum level of cobalt or chromium ions in the blood was the parameter which produced the highest area under the curve (91.0%). The optimal threshold for distinguishing between patients with and without ARMD was 5.5 µg/l (83.3% sensitivity, 88.4% specificity, 58.1% positive and 96.5% negative predictive values). Similar results were obtained in a subgroup of 111 patients who all underwent cross-sectional imaging. Between 3.2% and 4.3% of patients with ARMD were missed if United Kingdom (7 µg/l) and United States (10 µg/l) authority thresholds were used respectively, compared with 2.7% if our implant specific threshold was used, though these differences did not reach statistical significance (p ≥ 0.248). CONCLUSION: Patients with bilateral BHRs who have blood metal ion levels below our implant specific threshold were at low-risk of having ARMD. Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2016;98-B:1455-62.

Original publication




Journal article


Bone joint j

Publication Date





1455 - 1462


Adverse reactions to metal debris, Blood metal ions, Hip resurfacing, Metal-on-metal, Adult, Aged, Arthroplasty, Replacement, Hip, Biomarkers, Chromium, Cobalt, Female, Foreign Bodies, Hip Prosthesis, Humans, Male, Metal-on-Metal Joint Prostheses, Middle Aged, Prospective Studies, Prosthesis Design, Prosthesis Failure, ROC Curve, Reoperation, Sensitivity and Specificity