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Patients With Rheumatoid Arthritis Face Higher Risks After Joint Replacement Surgery

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People with rheumatoid arthritis are exposed to a higher risk of hip dislocation following hip replacement surgery than patients with osteoarthritis, according to a new study.

Additionally, patients with rheumatoid arthritis face a higher risk of infection after total knee arthroplasty compared with osteoarthritis patients, the authors of the study claim.

The findings were published in the 28 November online edition of the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism.

A research team led by Bheeshma Ravi from the University of Toronto and Women’s College Research Institute in Canada reviewed results of 40 studies published between January 1990 and December 2011 and encompassing arthritis patients aged 18 and older who had undergone knee or hip replacement surgery.

Joint arthroplasty is a successful way to relieve pain and disability resulting from knee or hip arthritis. While complication rates are low, there are some cases with serious consequences such as joint dislocation, infection, blood clots and even fatal outcomes, Radi said.

The analysis of the two groups of arthritis patients found no different rates in revision, 90-day blood clot or death risk.

However, further research to confirm these findings and additional investigation into the possible causes of the different joint replacement complication rates between rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis patients are necessary, Ravi noted.