, Volume 471, Issue 1, pp 181-188
Date: 03 Aug 2012

The ACL in the Arthritic Knee: How Often Is It Present and Can Preoperative Tests Predict Its Presence?

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Topic
Knee

Abstract

Background

TKA with retention of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) may improve kinematics and function. However, conflicting reports exist concerning the prevalence of intact ACLs at the time of TKA.

Questions/purposes

Therefore, we asked: (1) what was the ACL status at TKA; (2) what was the sensitivity and specificity of the Lachman test; (3) did MRI ACL integrity correlate with intraoperative observation; (4) did MRI tibial wear patterns correlate with ACL integrity; and (5) did ACL status depend on age or sex?

Methods

We evaluated 200 patients for ACL integrity at the time of TKA. All patients underwent a Lachman test under anesthesia. Intraoperatively, the ACL was characterized as intact, frayed, disrupted, or absent. In 100 patients, MRIs were performed, from which the ACL was graded as intact, indeterminate, or disrupted, and the AP location of tibial wear was categorized.

Results

The ACL was intact in 155 patients (78%). The Lachman test alone had poor diagnostic ability. The MRI predicted a tear, but we observed two ACLs with indeterminate status that were disrupted. All knees with anterior wear on the medial tibial condyle had an intact ACL (n = 45), and all knees with posterior wear on the medial tibial condyle had a disrupted ACL (n = 8).

Conclusions

Although the Lachman test alone had poor sensitivity, when combined with MRI they together provide a sensitivity of 93.3% and specificity of 99%, which we believe makes these reasonable tests for assessing ACL status in the arthritic knee.

Each author certifies that he or she, or a member of their immediate family, has no commercial associations (eg, consultancies, stock ownership, equity interest, patent/licensing arrangements, etc) that might pose a conflict of interest in connection with the submitted article.
All ICMJE Conflict of Interest Forms for authors and Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research editors and board members are on file with the publication and can be viewed on request.
Each author certifies that his or her institution approved the human protocol for this investigation, that all investigations were conducted in conformity with ethical principles of research, and that informed consent for participation in the study was obtained.
This work was performed at the Center for Joint Preservation and Reconstruction, Rubin Institute for Advanced Orthopedics, Sinai Hospital of Baltimore, Baltimore, MD, USA, and Methodist Hospital of Sacramento, Sacramento, CA, USA.