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      Cost-Effectiveness of Total Hip and Knee Replacements for the Australian Population with Osteoarthritis: Discrete-Event Simulation Model

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          Osteoarthritis constitutes a major musculoskeletal burden for the aged Australians. Hip and knee replacement surgeries are effective interventions once all conservative therapies to manage the symptoms have been exhausted. This study aims to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of hip and knee replacements in Australia. To our best knowledge, the study is the first attempt to account for the dual nature of hip and knee osteoarthritis in modelling the severities of right and left joints separately.

          Methodology/Principal Findings

          We developed a discrete-event simulation model that follows up the individuals with osteoarthritis over their lifetimes. The model defines separate attributes for right and left joints and accounts for several repeat replacements. The Australian population with osteoarthritis who were 40 years of age or older in 2003 were followed up until extinct. Intervention effects were modelled by means of disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) averted. Both hip and knee replacements are highly cost effective (AUD 5,000 per DALY and AUD 12,000 per DALY respectively) under an AUD 50,000/DALY threshold level. The exclusion of cost offsets, and inclusion of future unrelated health care costs in extended years of life, did not change the findings that the interventions are cost-effective (AUD 17,000 per DALY and AUD 26,000 per DALY respectively). However, there was a substantial difference between hip and knee replacements where surgeries administered for hips were more cost-effective than for knees.


          Both hip and knee replacements are cost-effective interventions to improve the quality of life of people with osteoarthritis. It was also shown that the dual nature of hip and knee OA should be taken into account to provide more accurate estimation on the cost-effectiveness of hip and knee replacements.

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          Most cited references 83

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          Measurement of patient outcome in arthritis.

           R KRAINES,  P Spitz,  J Fries (1980)
          A structure for representation of patient outcome is presented, together with a method for outcome measurement and validation of the technique in rheumatoid arthritis. The paradigm represents outcome by five separate dimensions: death, discomfort, disability, drug (therapeutic) toxicity, and dollar cost. Each dimension represents an outcome directly related to patient welfare. Quantitation of these outcome dimensions may be performed at interview or by patient questionnaire. With standardized, validated questions, similar scores are achieved by both methods. The questionnaire technique is preferred since it is inexpensive and does not require interobserver validation. These techniques appear extremely useful for evaluation of long term outcome of patients with rheumatic diseases.
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            Health-related quality of life in total hip and total knee arthroplasty. A qualitative and systematic review of the literature.

            Total hip and total knee arthroplasties are well accepted as reliable and suitable surgical procedures to return patients to function. Health-related quality-of-life instruments have been used to document outcomes in order to optimize the allocation of resources. The objective of this study was to review the literature regarding the outcomes of total hip and knee arthroplasties as evaluated by health-related quality-of-life instruments. The Medline and EMBASE medical literature databases were searched, from January 1980 to June 2003, to identify relevant studies. Studies were eligible for review if they met the following criteria: (1). the language was English or French, (2). at least one well-validated and self-reported health-related quality of life instrument was used, and (3). a prospective cohort study design was used. Of the seventy-four studies selected for the review, thirty-two investigated both total hip and total knee arthroplasties, twenty-six focused on total hip arthroplasty, and sixteen focused on total knee arthroplasty exclusively. The most common diagnosis was osteoarthritis. The duration of follow-up ranged from seven days to seven years, with the majority of studies describing results at six to twelve months. The Short Form-36 and the Western Ontario and McMaster University Osteoarthritis Index, the most frequently used instruments, were employed in forty and twenty-eight studies, respectively. Seventeen studies used a utility index. Overall, total hip and total knee arthroplasties were found to be quite effective in terms of improvement in health-related quality-of-life dimensions, with the occasional exception of the social dimension. Age was not found to be an obstacle to effective surgery, and men seemed to benefit more from the intervention than did women. When improvement was found to be modest, the role of comorbidities was highlighted. Total hip arthroplasty appears to return patients to function to a greater extent than do knee procedures, and primary surgery offers greater improvement than does revision. Patients who had poorer preoperative health-related quality of life were more likely to experience greater improvement. Health-related quality-of-life data are valuable, can provide relevant health-status information to health professionals, and should be used as a rationale for the implementation of the most adequate standard of care. Additional knowledge and scientific dissemination of surgery outcomes should help to ensure better management of patients undergoing total hip or total knee arthroplasty and to optimize the use of these procedures.
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              Questionnaire on the perceptions of patients about total knee replacement.

              We have developed a 12-item questionnaire for patients having a total knee replacement (TKR). We made a prospective study of 117 patients before operation and at follow-up six months later, asking them to complete the new questionnaire and the form SF36. Some also filled in the Stanford Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ). An orthopaedic surgeon completed the American Knee Society (AKS) clinical score. The single score derived from the new questionnaire had high internal consistency, and its reproducibility, examined by test-retest reliability, was found to be satisfactory. Its validity was established by obtaining significant correlations in the expected direction with the AKS scores and the relevant parts of the SF36 and HAQ. Sensitivity to change was assessed by analysing the differences between the preoperative scores and those at follow-up. We also compared change in scores with the patients' retrospective judgement of change in their condition. The effect size for the new questionnaire compared favourably with those for the relevant parts of the SF36. The change scores for the new knee questionnaire were significantly greater (p < 0.0001) for patients who reported the most improvement in their condition. The new questionnaire provides a measure of outcome for TKR that is short, practical, reliable, valid and sensitive to clinically important changes over time.

                Author and article information

                Role: Editor
                PLoS One
                PLoS ONE
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, USA )
                23 September 2011
                : 6
                : 9
                School of Population Health, The University of Queensland, Herston, Queensland, Australia
                Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands
                Author notes

                Analyzed the data: HH JJB. Contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools: HH JJB. Wrote the paper: HH JJB.

                Higashi, Barendregt. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
                Page count
                Pages: 11
                Research Article
                Non-Clinical Medicine
                Health Economics
                Cost Effectiveness
                Orthopedic Surgery
                Joint Replacement Surgery
                Social and Behavioral Sciences
                Operations Research
                Decision Analysis



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