Acetabular Global Insufficiency in Patients with Down Syndrome and Hip-Related Symptoms: A Matched-Cohort Study

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The etiology of hip instability in Down syndrome is not completely understood. We investigated the morphology of the acetabulum and femur in patients with Down syndrome and compared measurements of the hips with those of matched controls.


Computed tomography (CT) images of the pelvis of 42 patients with Down syndrome and hip symptoms were compared with those of 42 age and sex-matched subjects without Down syndrome or history of hip disease who had undergone CT for abdominal pain. Each of the cohorts had 23 male and 19 female subjects. The mean age (and standard deviation) in each cohort was 11.3 ± 5.3 years. The lateral center-edge angle (LCEA), acetabular inclination angle (IA), acetabular depth-width ratio (ADR), acetabular version, and anterior and posterior acetabular sector angles (AASA and PASA) were compared. The neck-shaft angle and femoral version were measured in the patients with Down syndrome only. The hips of the patients with Down syndrome were further categorized as stable (n = 21) or unstable (n = 63) for secondary analysis.


The hips in the Down syndrome group had a smaller LCEA (mean, 10.8° ± 12.6° compared with 25.6° ± 4.6°; p < 0.0001), a larger IA (mean, 17.4° ± 10.3° compared with 10.9° ± 4.8°; p < 0.0001), a lower ADR (mean, 231.9 ± 56.2 compared with 306.8 ± 31.0; p < 0.0001), a more retroverted acetabulum (mean acetabular version as measured at the level of the centers of the femoral heads [AVC], 7.8° ± 5.1° compared with 14.0° ± 4.5°; p < 0.0001), a smaller AASA (mean, 55.0° ± 9.9° compared with 59.7° ± 7.8°; p = 0.005), and a smaller PASA (mean, 67.1° ± 10.4° compared with 85.2° ± 6.8°; p < 0.0001). Within the Down syndrome cohort, the unstable hips showed greater femoral anteversion (mean, 32.7° ± 14.6° compared with 23.6° ± 10.6°; p = 0.002) and worse global acetabular insufficiency compared with the stable hips. No differences between the unstable and stable hips were found with respect to acetabular version (mean AVC, 7.8° ± 5.5° compared with 7.6° ± 3.8°; p = 0.93) and the neck-shaft angle (mean, 133.7° ± 6.7° compared with 133.2° ± 6.4°; p = 0.81).


Patients with Down syndrome and hip-related symptoms had more retroverted and shallower acetabula with globally reduced coverage of the femoral head compared with age and sex-matched subjects. Hip instability among those with Down syndrome was associated with worse global acetabular insufficiency and increased femoral anteversion, but not with more severe acetabular retroversion. No difference in the mean femoral neck-shaft angle was observed between the stable and unstable hips in the Down syndrome cohort.

Level of Evidence:

Prognostic Level III. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

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