Twenty consecutive patients who had a direct-exchange total hip arthroplasty, performed by one surgeon between October 1979 and July 1990, were prospectively followed and data were collected. The most common infecting organism was Staphylococcus epidermidis (nine patients), followed by Streptococcus species and Staphylococcus aureus (five patients each). Three patients (15 per cent) had a draining sinus tract at the time of the operation. The operation and the postoperative management included meticulous débridement, administration of appropriate systemic antibiotic therapy, and use of antibiotic-loaded cement. By an average of 9.9 years (range, 3.5 to 17.1 years) postoperatively, no patient had had recurrence of the infection. Two patients had a revision for aseptic loosening nine and seventeen years after the direct exchange.Although the present series is relatively small, our experience has shown that direct exchange, which is associated with less morbidity and is less expensive than delayed exchange, can be successful in carefully selected patients.