For people suffering from osteoarthritis (OA), total hip replacement (THR) offers better quality of life and reduced pain. But in addition to those benefits, THR is now being associated with lower risk of heart failure, depression and diabetes in OA patients.
This has emerged after a study led by Dr Scott Lovald, a researcher at Exponent Inc. The findings of the team were presented at this year´s annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
According to Dr Lovald, there has been extensive research into the short-term benefits of THR but less attention has been paid to the long-term effects of the surgery and its cost-effectiveness. With regard to the latter, the study has found that a THR patient costs only $6,366 more over seven years compared to hip pain treatment for an OA patient who has not undergone the operation. Taking into account expenses associated with prescription pain medication, the actual average cost per THR patient is expected to be lower.
The researchers examined Medicare data, identifying over 43,000 patients with hip OA between 1998 and 2009. Some of them had THR surgery, others did not. All patients were tracked for a minimum of one year and almost 24,000 were observed for seven years. The researchers studied annual Medicare payments, mortality and new diagnoses of congestive heart failure, ischemic heart disease, artherosclerosis, diabetes and depression.
The analysis of the results showed that mortality was 52% less likely in the THR group. Within a year after the operation, heart failure rates were similar for both groups but the likelihood of this problem occurring dropped significantly after that for THR patients. Additionally, the chances of developing diabetes were lower for THR patients within one to three years after the operation and the group had a lower rate of depression three years post-surgery.