Assistive devices, hip precautions, environmental modifications and training to prevent dislocation and improve function after hip arthroplasty

Toby Smith, Paul Jepson, Andy Beswick, Gina Sands, Avril Drummond, Edward Davis, Catherine Sackley

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Background: Total hip arthroplasty (THA) is one of the most common orthopaedic operations performed worldwide. Painful osteoarthritis of the hip is the primary indication for THA. Following THA, people have conventionally been provided with equipment, such as raised toilet seats and chairs, and educated to avoid activities that could cause the hip joint to be in a position of flexion over 90 degrees, or adduction or rotation past the midline. These aspects of occupational therapy have been advocated to reduce the risks of prosthesis dislocation. However, the appropriateness of these recommendations has been questioned. 
Objectives: To assess the effects of provision of assistive devices, education on hip precautions, environmental modifications and training in activities of daily living (ADL) and extended ADL (EADL) for people undergoing THA. 
Search methods: We searched MEDLINE (1946 to April 2016), EMBASE (1947 to April 2016), the Cochrane Library including CENTRAL (Issue 4 of 12, 2016), Database of Reviews of Effects (DARE), Health Technology Assessment (HTA), Economic Evaluations Database (EED), CINAHL, PEDro and CIRRIE from inception to April 2016. In addition we checked Controlled Clinical Trials,, the National Institutes of Health Trial Registry, the World Health Organization International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (WHO ICTRP) and the OpenGrey database from inception to April 2016. 
Selection criteria: We included randomised controlled trials (RCTs), quasi-RCTs and cluster-RCTs that evaluated the effectiveness of the provision of assistive devices, education on hip precautions, environmental modifications, or training in ADL and EADL for people undergoing THA. The main outcomes of interest were pain, function, health-related quality of life (HRQOL), global assessment of treatment success, reoperation rate, hip dislocation and adverse events. 
Data collection and analysis: We used standard methodological procedures recognised by Cochrane. We conducted a systematic literature search using several databases and contacted corresponding authors, appraised the evidence using the Cochrane risk of bias tool, analysed the data using a narrative analysis approach (as it was not possible to conduct a meta-analysis due to heterogeneity in interventions), and interpreted all outcomes using the GRADE approach. 
Main results: We included three trials with a total of 492 participants who had received 530 THA. The evidence presented with a high risk of performance, detection and reporting bias.One study (81 participants) compared outcomes for participants randomised to the provision of hip precautions, equipment and functional restrictions versus no provision of hip precautions, equipment or functional restrictions. Due to the quality of evidence being very low, we are uncertain if the provision of hip precautions, equipment and functional restrictions improved function measured using the Harris Hip Score at 12 month follow-up, or health-related quality of life (HRQOL) measured by the Short Form-12 at four week follow-up, compared to not providing this. There were no incidences of hip dislocation or adverse events in either group during the initial 12 postoperative months. The study did not measure pain score, global assessment of treatment success or total adverse events.One study (265 participants; 303 THAs) evaluated the provision of hip precautions with versus without the prescription of postoperative equipment and restrictions to functional activities. Due to the quality of evidence being very low, we are uncertain if perceived satisfaction in the rate of recovery differed in people who were not prescribed postoperative equipment and restrictions (135/151 satisfied) compared to those prescribed equipment and restrictions (113/152) (risk ratio (RR) 0.83, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.75 to 0.93; 265 participants, one trial; number needed to treat for an additional beneficial outcome (NNTB) = 7). Due to the low quality evidence, we are uncertain if the incidence of hip dislocation differed between participants provided with hip precautions with (1/152) compared to without providing equipment or restrictions post-THA (0/151) (RR 2.98, 95% CI 0.12 to 72.59). The study did not measure pain, function, HRQOL, re-operation rates or total adverse events.One study (146 participants) investigated the provision of an enhanced postoperative education and rehabilitation service on hospital discharge to promote functional ADL versus a conventional rehabilitation intervention in the community. This study was of very low quality evidence. We were uncertain if the provision of enhanced postoperative education and rehabilitation improved function at six months follow-up, when assessed using the Objective and Subjective Functional Capability Index (146 participants, one trial; P > 0.05; no numerical results provided) compared to conventional rehabilitation. The study did not measure pain score, HRQOL, global assessment of treatment success, hip dislocation, re-operation rate or total adverse events. 
Authors' conclusions: Very low quality evidence is available from single trials, thus we are uncertain if hip precautions with or without the addition of equipment and functional restrictions are effective in preventing dislocation and improving outcomes after THA. There is also insufficient evidence to support or refute the adoption of a postoperative community rehabilitation programme consisting of functional reintegration and education compared to conventional rehabilitation strategies based on functional outcomes. 
Further high-quality trials are warranted to assess the outcomes of different occupational therapy interventions both in the short and longer-term for those who undergo THA. An assessment of the impact of such interventions on pain and restriction on personal ADL, EADL and instrumental ADL is needed, and also of functional integration-type interventions rather than just hip precautions, equipment and restrictions.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberCD010815
JournalCochrane Database of Systematic Reviews
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jul 2016


  • Hip replacement
  • occupational therapy
  • equipment
  • precautions
  • rehabilitation
  • dislocation

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