Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a chronic autoimmune spondyloarthropathy that primarily affects the axial spine and hips. Progressive disease leads to pronounced spinal kyphosis, positive sagittal balance, and altered biomechanics. The purpose of this study is to determine the complication profile of patients with AS undergoing total hip arthroplasty (THA).

The Medicare sample was searched from 2005 to 2012 yielding 1006 patients with AS who subsequently underwent THA. Risk ratios (RRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated for 90-day, 2-year, and the final postoperative follow-up for complications including hip dislocation, periprosthetic fracture, wound complication, revision THA, and postoperative infection.

Compared to controls, AS patients had an RR of 2.50 (CI, 1.04-5.99) of THA component breakage at 90-days post-operatively and 1.99 (CI, 1.10-3.59) at 2-years. The RR of periprosthetic hip dislocation was elevated at 90 days (1.44; CI, 0.93-2.22) and significantly increased at 2-years (1.67; CI, 1.25-2.23) and overall follow-up (1.49; CI, 1.14-1.93). Similarly, the RR for THA revision was elevated at 90-days (1.46; CI, 0.97-2.18) and significantly increased at 2-years (1.69; CI, 1.33-2.14) and overall follow-up (1.51; CI, 1.23-1.85).

Patients with AS are at increased risk for complications after THA. Altered biomechanics from a rigid, kyphotic spine place increased demand on the hip joints. The elevated perioperative and postoperative risks should be discussed preoperatively, and these patients may require increased preoperative medical optimization as well as possible changes in component selection and position to compensate for altered spinopelvic biomechanics.