In the first systemic review of evidence assessing complications following total joint arthroplasty, patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) were found to have an increased risk for hip dislocation after hip replacement surgery compared to those with osteoarthritis (OA). Study findings published online in Arthritis & Rheumatism, a journal of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR), also indicate that RA patients have a higher infection risk following total knee replacement than patients with OA.
The ACR reports that OA-the most common form of arthritis-affects 27 million Americans 25 years of age and older, and another 1.3 million adults are living with RA. Previous studies show that one of the most effective treatment options for end-stage arthritis of the hip or knee is total joint replacement. Experts suggest that success with this intervention is evident given the increasing rates of joint replacements. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 676,000 total knee replacements and 327,000 total hip replacements were performed in the U.S. in 2009.
"Joint arthroplasty is successful in relieving the pain and disability caused by hip or knee arthritis," said lead author Dr. Bheeshma Ravi from the University of Toronto and Women's College Research Institute (WCRI) in Canada. "While complication rates are low there are some cases with serious consequences that include infection, joint dislocation, blood clots and even death."