The new proximal femoral nail antirotation (PFNA) in daily practice: results of a multicentre clinical study

R K J Simmermacher, J Ljungqvist, H Bail, T Hockertz, A J H Vochteloo, U Ochs, Chr v d Werken
Injury 2008, 39 (8): 932-9
The treatment of unstable trochanteric femoral fractures is still challenging. The ideal implant should be easy to handle, allow for immediate full weight-bearing postoperatively and should have sufficient purchase in the femoral head/neck-fragment to limit cut-outs due to varus-deviation and rotation. The proximal femoral nail antirotation (PFNA), designed by AO, is an intramedullary device with a helical blade rather than a screw for better purchase in the femoral head and was tested in a clinical study. Consecutive patients with unstable trochanteric fractures (AO-classification 31.A.2 and A.3 only) were included and followed for 1 year. Primary objectives were assessment of operative and postoperative complications, whereas secondary objectives included surgical details, general complications and final outcome measurements. In 11 European clinics, 315 patients were included and treated with a PFNA. Almost all fractures healed within 6 months. Fifty-six percent of the patients regained the pre-trauma mobility and 18% died within the follow-up period. Forty-six implant-related complications--leading to 28 unplanned re-operations--were recorded, with four acetabular penetrations (three of which were after a new fall on that hip) and seven ipsilateral femoral shaft fractures as the most serious ones. As the joint-penetrations did not resemble the cut-out seen with other implants it is concluded that the PFNA--due to its helical blade--possibly limits the effects of early rotation of the head/neck-fragment in unstable trochanteric fractures and therefore seems currently to be the optimal implant for the treatment of these fractures especially in osteoporotic bone.

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