Radiographs not reliable for detecting hip osteoarthritis

Only a fraction of patients whose doctors relied on radiographs were correctly diagnosed with osteoarthritis.
Only a fraction of patients whose doctors relied on radiographs were correctly diagnosed with osteoarthritis.

HealthDay News — X-rays don't detect hip osteoarthritis (OA) in many patients, resulting in delayed diagnosis and treatment, according to findings published online December 2 in The BMJ.

The researchers looked at information from 5,312 Americans taking part in two OA studies. In one study, only 15.6% of patients with hip pain had X-ray evidence of OA in the hip and only 20.7% of those with X-ray evidence of OA had hip pain. In the other study, the rates were 9.1% and 23.8%, respectively.

"The majority of older subjects with high suspicion for clinical hip OA did not have radiographic hip OA, suggesting that many older persons with hip OA might be missed if diagnosticians relied on hip radiographs to determine if hip pain was due to OA," study author Chan Kim, MD, an instructor of medicine at the Boston University School of Medicine, said in a university news release.

"Most older participants with a high suspicion for clinical hip OA (groin or anterior pain and/or painful internal rotation) did not have radiographic hip OA, suggesting that in many cases, hip OA might be missed if diagnosticians relied solely on hip radiographs," the authors write.

References

  1. Kim C, Nevitt MC, Niu J, et al. Association of hip pain with radiographic evidence of hip osteoarthritis: diagnostic test studyBMJ. 2015; doi: 10.1136/bmj.h5983
  2. Nieuwenhuikse M, Nelissen R. Hip pain and radiographic signs of osteoarthritis. BMJ. 2015; doi: 10.1136/bmj.h6262
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