Roentgenograms of 1,410 hips from 705 alcoholics were compared with
those of 200 hips from 100 controls for changes consistent with
non-traumatic (idiopathic) necrosis of the femoral head according to the
findings diagnostic of necrosis of bone that were outlined by the
Decompression Sickness Panel of the British Medical Research Council.
Abnormalities were found in 45.3 per cent of the alcoholics and 49 per cent
of the controls. None of the findings showed any statistical difference
between the controls and the alcoholics. It was concluded that the
roentgenographic findings used were not valid in detecting the early or
subtle changes of necrosis of the femoral head and that the changes found
in both groups are common and probably non-specific.