Combining acetabular and femoral morphology improves our understanding of the down syndrome hip

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Abstract

Background:

Hip instability is frequent in patients with Down syndrome. Recent studies have suggested that skeletal hip alterations are responsible for this instability; however, there are currently no studies simultaneously assessing femoral and acetabular anatomy in subjects with Down syndrome in the standing position. The aim was to analyze the three-dimensional anatomy of the Down syndrome hip in standing position.

Methods:

Down syndrome subjects were age and sex-matched to asymptomatic controls. All subjects underwent full body biplanar X-rays with three-dimensional reconstructions of their pelvises and lower limbs. Parameter means and distributions were compared between the two groups.

Findings:

Forty-one Down syndrome and 41 control subjects were recruited. Acetabular abduction (mean = 52° [SD = 9°] vs. mean = 56° [SD = 8°]) and anteversion (mean = 14° [SD = 8°] vs. mean = 17.5° [SD = 5°]) as well as posterior acetabular sector angle (mean = 91° [SD = 7°] vs. mean = 94° [SD = 7°]) were significantly lower in Down syndrome subjects compared to controls (P < 0.01). Anterior acetabular sector angle (mean = 62° [SD = 10°] vs. mean = 59° [SD = 7°]; P < 0.01) was significantly higher in Down syndrome compared to controls. The distributions of acetabular anteversion (P = 0.002;V = 0.325), femoral anteversion (P = 0.004;V = 0.309) and the instability index (P < 0.001;V = 0.383) were significantly different between the two groups, with subjects with Down syndrome having both increased anteversion and retroversion for each of these parameters.

Interpretation:

Subjects with Down syndrome were found to have a significantly altered and more heterogeneous anatomy of their proximal hips compared to controls. This heterogeneity suggests that treatment strategies of hip instability in Down syndrome should be subject-specific and should rely on the understanding of the underlying three-dimensional anatomy of each patient.

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