The HEALTH Investigators. (2019). Total hip arthroplasty or hemiarthroplasty for hip fracture. N Engl J Med, https://doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa1906190
Globally, hip fractures are among the top 10 causes of disability in adults. For displaced femoral neck fractures, there remains uncertainty regarding the effect of a total hip arthroplasty as compared with hemiarthroplasty.
We randomly assigned 1495 patients who were 50 years of age or older and had a displaced femoral neck fracture to undergo either total hip arthroplasty or hemiarthroplasty. All enrolled patients had been able to ambulate without the assistance of another person before the fracture occurred. The trial was conducted in 80 centers in 10 countries. The primary end point was a secondary hip procedure within 24 months of follow-up. Secondary end points included death, serious adverse events, hip-related complications, health-related quality of life, function, and overall health end points.
The primary end point occurred in 57 of 718 patients (7.9%) who were randomly assigned to total hip arthroplasty and 60 of 723 patients (8.3%) who were randomly assigned to hemiarthroplasty (hazard ratio, 0.95; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.64 to 1.40; P=0.79). Hip instability or dislocation occurred in 34 patients (4.7%) assigned to total hip arthroplasty and 17 patients (2.4%) assigned to hemiarthroplasty (hazard ratio, 2.00; 99% CI, 0.97 to 4.09). Function, as measured with the total Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) total score, pain score, stiffness score, and function score, modestly favored total hip arthroplasty over hemiarthroplasty. Mortality was similar in the two treatment groups (14.3% among the patients assigned to total hip arthroplasty and 13.1% among those assigned to hemiarthroplasty, P=0.48). Serious adverse events occurred in 300 patients (41.8%) assigned to total hip arthroplasty and in 265 patients (36.7%) assigned to hemiarthroplasty.
Among independently ambulating patients with displaced femoral neck fractures, the incidence of secondary procedures did not differ significantly between patients who were randomly assigned to undergo total hip arthroplasty and those who were assigned to undergo hemiarthroplasty, and total hip arthroplasty provided a clinically unimportant improvement over hemiarthroplasty in function and quality of life over 24 months.