Is tantalum protective against infection in revision total hip arthroplasty?

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We hypothesised that the use of tantalum (Ta) acetabular components in revision total hip arthroplasty (THA) was protective against subsequent failure due to infection. We identified 966 patients (421 men, 545 women and 990 hips) who had undergone revision THA between 2000 and 2013. The mean follow up was 40.2 months (3 months to 13.1 years). The mean age of the men and women was 62.3 years (31 to 90) and 65.1 years (25 to 92), respectively.

Titanium (Ti) acetabular components were used in 536 hips while Ta components were used in 454 hips. In total, 73 (7.3%) hips experienced subsequent acetabular failure. The incidence of failure was lower in the Ta group at 4.4% (20/454) compared with 9.9% (53/536) in the Ti group (p < 0.001, odds ratio 2.38; 95% CI 1.37 to 4.27). Among the 144 hips (64 Ta, 80 Ti) for which revision had been performed because of infection, failure due to a subsequent infection was lower in the Ta group at 3.1% (2/64) compared with 17.5% (14/80) for the Ti group (p = 0.006).

Thus, the use of Ta acetabular components during revision THA was associated with a lower incidence of failure from all causes and Ta components were associated with a lower incidence of subsequent infection when used in patients with periprosthetic joint infection.

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