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Volume 11 (2011), Pages 1804-1811
Research Article

Profiles of Biomarkers of Excess Alcohol Consumption in Patients Undergoing Total Hip Replacement: Correlation with Function

1Division of Clinical and Surgical Sciences, Department of Orthopaedics, University of Edinburgh, Room FU413, Chancellor's Building, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, Old Dalkeith Road, Edinburgh EH16 4SB, UK
2Department of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, Old Dalkeith Road, Edinburgh EH16 4SA, UK
3Department of Orthopaedics, Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Yorkhill, Dalnair Street, Glasgow G3 8SJ, UK

Received 25 July 2011; Accepted 23 August 2011

Academic Editor: Robin Touquet

Copyright © 2011 Paul J. Jenkins et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Aims. Patients who misuse alcohol may be at increased risk of surgical complications and poorer function following hip replacement. Identification and intervention may lead to harm reduction and improve the outcomes of surgery. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of biomarker elevation in patients undergoing hip replacement and to investigate any correlation with functional scores and complications. Methods. We performed a retrospective study that examined the profile of biomarkers of alcohol misuse in 1049 patients undergoing hip replacement. Results. Gamma-glutamyltransferase was elevated in 150 (17.6%), and mean corpuscular volume was elevated in 23 (4%). At one year general physical health was poorer where there was elevation of γGT, and the mental health and hip function was poorer with elevation of MCV. There were no differences in complications. Discussion. Raised biomarkers can alert clinicians to potential problems. They also provide an opportunity to perform further investigation and offer intervention. Future research should focus on the use in orthopaedic practice of validated screening questionnaires and more sensitive biomarkers of alcohol misuse. Conclusion. This study demonstrates a potential substantial proportion of unrecognised alcohol misuse that is associated with poorer functional scores in patients after total hip replacement.