Greater Risk Of Hip Dislocation Awaits Patients With Rheumatoid Arthritis

Patients with a history of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) were found to be at greater a danger for hip dislocation following hip replacement surgery compared to those with osteoarthritis (OA), medical experts say, citing findings from the first systemic review assessing complications following total joint arthroplasty. Evidence has also been uncovered that points to the strong possibility that RA patients are more prone to infection after total knee replacement surgery than patients with OA.

The results of this study were featured online in Arthritis & Rheumatism, the medical journal for the American College of Rheumatology.

Among patients ranging in ages from 25 and above, the ACR considers OA to be the most common form of arthritis with as many as 27 million Americans having it compared to 1.3 million that have RA. Conventional practice has long held the assumption that the best means for treating end-stage arthritis of the hip and knee is through total joint replacement. Some experts believe that the success of this form of intervention is evident in the increasing number of joint replacement procedures being performed. Further studies are needed to research the effectiveness of joint replacement procedures and implants while simultaneously accounting for other factors that might influence the outcome of recovery, like, market pressures, patient’s age, gender, and use of support systems.

Some medical experts believe that joint arthroplasty is successful in treating disability and relieving the pain caused by hip or knee arthritis. While it is believed that complication rates following these procedures are low, there have been some reports of serious side effects which include infection, joint dislocation, bleeding, and even increased death rates.

Medical researchers conducted a detailed review of the literature on cases involving joint arthroplasty in order to assess the risk of side effects relating patients with OA and RA after joint replacement surgery. Reports between January 1990 and December 2011 were collated and all in all as many as 40 studies were analyzed and evaluated. The study population represented patients from the ages of 18 and older who have had hip or knee replacements and excluded patients who had replacement surgery brought about by fractures or cancer.

The study authors analyzed the previous literature which suggested a clear trend among RA patients to be more prone to hip dislocation from hip replacement surgery compared to patients with a history of OA. RA patients were also at greater risk for infection following total knee replacement surgery than OA patients. The study team found no difference in revision rate, 90-day mortality, or blood clot risk between the two patient groups. In summary, the medical study team has collated their findings but accept the need for further study to find the factors influencing the differences in joint replacement complication rate between OA and RA patients.


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