Expensive wait for hip replacements

A year-long wait for the operation also entails significant costs to both society and the individual, reveals a new thesis from the Sahlgrenska Academy.

Drawing on around 40,000 responses from patients selected from the Swedish Hip Arthroplasty Register, the thesis looks at how hip replacement patients perceive their health-related quality of life and level of pain both before and after the operation, as well as how satisfied they are with the results.

“Although the majority report a considerable improvement in their health-related quality of life and are pain-free after their hip replacement, we show that around 5-10% do not improve or have actually deteriorated one year after the operation,” says Ola Rolfson, researcher at the Sahlgrenska Academy’s Department of Orthopaedics.

He explains that there are several reasons for the failure of some patients to get better in the short term. For example, patients with anxiety or depression are more likely to report worse results. However, more research is needed to understand the factors that affect post-operative outcomes.

The thesis also looks at how hip disease impacts on patients’ need for a variety of resources when waiting for a hip replacement, and how this, in turn, translates into additional expense for the patient, relatives and society in general. It emerged that the disease costs around SEK 60,000 in the year before the operation, and that a long wait was linked to higher consumption of resources. This works out at SEK 5,000 per month for every patient on the waiting list.

“Doing the right thing, doing the thing right and doing it at the right time is the major challenge facing orthopaedics in the future,” says Rolfson. “The thesis adds information that will make it possible for hip replacement surgery to take another step in the right direction.”

Using the results set out in his thesis, Rolfson will be working to develop a tool that can help to predict and discuss the risks and expected results of surgery in each individual case.

The Swedish Hip Arthroplasty Register is a national healthcare quality register funded by the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions and Region Västra Götaland. The register undertakes research in conjunction with the Sahlgrenska Academy. Read more at: http://www.shpr.se/sv/default.aspx

For more information, please contact:
Ola Rolfson, registered physician and researcher at the Department of Orthopaedics, Sahlgrenska Academy, mobile +46(0)70 522 6386, e-mail: [email protected]

Consultant and researcher Göran Garellick, tel. +46(0)70 826 8440, e-mail: [email protected]

Thesis for the degree of PhD (Medicine) at the Department of Orthopaedics, Institute of Clinical Sciences, Sahlgrenska Academy.

Title of the thesis: Patient-reported Outcome Measures and Health-economic Aspects of Total Hip Arthroplasty. A study of the Swedish Hip Arthroplasty Register

The thesis will be defended at 1 pm on Friday 10 December in the Arvid Carlsson lecture room, Academicum building, Medicinaregatan 3, Gothenburg.

Download the thesis at: http://hdl.handle.net/2077/23722


BY: Lena Mattsson
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