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What Preoperative Factors are Associated With Not Achieving a Minimum Clinically Important Difference After THA? Findings from an International Multicenter Study

Journal article
Authors P. Rojanasopondist
V. P. Galea
J. W. Connelly
S. J. Matuszak
Ola Rolfson
C. R. Bragdon
H. Malchau
Published in Clinical orthopaedics and related research
Volume 477
Issue 6
Pages 1301-1312
ISSN 1528-1132
Publication year 2019
Published at Institute of Clinical Sciences, Department of Orthopaedics
Pages 1301-1312
Language en
Subject categories Orthopedics


BACKGROUND: Despite innovations in THA, there remains a subgroup of patients who experience only modest pain relief and/or functional improvement after the procedure. Although several studies have previously sought to identify factors before surgery that were associated with achieving or not achieving a meaningful improvement after THA, there is no consensus on which factors are most associated; many studies have relied on single-center or single-country multicenter studies for their cohorts. QUESTIONS/PURPOSES: We sought to identify (1) the proportion of patients who do not achieve a minimum clinically important difference (MCID) in pain and function 1 year after THA, and (2) the preoperative factors that were associated with not achieving MCIDs in pain and function 1 year after THA. METHODS: This retrospective study analyzed data gathered from a prospective international, multicenter study examining the long-term clinical outcomes of two different polyethylene liners and two different acetabular shells. A total of 814 patients from 12 centers across four countries were enrolled in the study, with the final cohort consisting of 594 patients (73%) who all had complete preoperative and 1-year PROMs as well as a valid preoperative radiograph used to measure minimum joint space width. The outcomes in this study were achieving evidence-derived MCIDs in (1) pain, defined as a reduction of two points on an 11-point (0 = very little, 10 = worst imaginable) numerical rating scale (NRS) for hip-related pain or reporting a 1 year NRS-pain score of 0, and (2) function, defined as an increase equal to or greater than 8.3 on the SF-36 Physical Function subscore (range: 0 to 100; 0 = maximum disability, 100 = no disability) or reporting a 1-year SF-36 Physical Function subscore within the 95th percentile of scores in our cohort. All demographic variables, such as age, sex, country; surgical factors, including body mass index (BMI), surgical approach, acetabular liner type, and preoperative PROMs, were included as covariates in a binary logistic regression model. We used a backwards stepwise elimination algorithm to reach the simplest, best-fit model. RESULTS: In the final analysis cohort of 594 patients, 54 patients (9%) did not achieve the MCID in pain and 146 (25%) patients did not achieve the MCID in physical function after THA. After controlling for potential confounding variables such as age, BMI, and preoperative PROMs, we found that higher joint space width (odds ratio (OR) = 2.19; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.49-3.22; p < 0.001), lower preoperative SF-36 Mental Component Summary (MCS) (OR = 0.95; 95% CI = 0.93-0.98; p = 0.001), and female sex (OR = 2.04; 95% CI = 1.08-3.82; p = 0.027) were associated with failing to achieve a MCID in pain. It is important to note that the effect size of having a higher preoperative SF-36 MCS is small, with a 1- or 10-point increase in SF-36 MCS decreasing the odds of a patient not achieving the pain MCID by 5% or 63%, respectively.In a separate multivariable model, after controlling for potential confounding variables such as age, BMI, and preoperative PROMs, we found that higher joint space width (OR = 1.54; 95% CI = 1.18-2.02; p = 0.002), higher preoperative Harris hip score (HHS) (OR = 1.01; 95% CI = 1.00-1.03; p = 0.019) and undergoing surgery in Scandinavia (OR = 1.73; 95% CI = 1.17-2.55; p = 0.006) were associated with failing to achieve a MCID in physical function. It is important to note that the effect size of having a higher preoperative HHS is very small, with a 1- or t10-point increase in HHS increasing the odds of not achieving the physical function MCID by only 1% or 15%, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that surgeons should counsel patients with high joint space width, female patients, and patients undergoing surgery in Scandinavia that they may be much less likely to experience meaningful pain relief or functional improvement after THA, and in light of that, determine whether indeed surgery should be postponed or avoided in those patients. Lower SF-36 MCS score and higher HHS before surgery were also found to be associated with not achieving MCIDs in pain and physical function, respectively, after surgery, but both had relatively small effect sizes. Future prospective studies may consider exploring the relationship between less pain relief or functional improvement and the risk factors identified in this study, such as high joint space width, to validate our findings and determine if the variables we identified are truly predictive of worse postoperative outcomes. Future retrospective studies of regional or national registry data should use the analysis methods presented within this study to both identify the portion of the THA patients who do not achieve a MCID in pain or physical function after surgery and confirm if the preoperative risk factors for poor improvement identified within our international, multicenter cohort are also found in a larger patient population with more diverse implants and comorbidities. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Level III, therapeutic study.

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