As Fleischman et al. observe in the January 17, 2018 edition of The Journal, “there is a prevailing belief that patients living alone cannot be safely discharged directly home after total joint arthroplasty [TJA].” Not so, according to results of their Level II prospective cohort study.
The authors reviewed outcomes among a cohort of 769 patients undergoing lower-extremity arthroplasty who were discharged home, 138 of whom were living alone. While patients living alone more commonly stayed an additional night in the hospital and utilized more home-health services than patients living with others, there were no between-group differences in 90-day complication rates or unplanned clinical events, including readmissions.
These findings are reassuring, but all patients discharged home after a lower-limb arthroplasty need some support with meal preparation, personal hygiene, and other activities of daily living for the first 10 to 14 days. Clinicians should therefore adequately assess the local support system for each patient living alone in terms of family, neighbors, or friends to be sure the patient will be safe if discharged home. This crucial determination is a team exercise involving nursing, the surgeon, physical and occupational therapists, and a social worker. Fleischman et al. implicitly credit the “nurse navigator” program at their institution (Rothman Institute) with coordinating this team effort.
Investigation into these issues is very important as the orthopaedic community works to lower the costs of arthroplasty care while improving patient safety and satisfaction. If the appropriate support is in place, patients and clinicians alike would prefer that patients sleep in their own beds after discharge from joint replacement surgery.
Marc Swiontkowski, MD
The January 3, 2018 issue of JBJS contains another in a series of “What’s Important” personal essays from orthopaedic clinicians.
This “What’s Important” article comes from Dr. Andrew J. Schoenfeld.
Dr. Schoenfeld reminds readers that the first vow of the Hippopcratic Oath is to “impart precept, oral instruction, and all other instructions” to help less-experienced physicians. In making a strong case for mentor-mentee relationships among today’s orthopaedists, Dr. Schoenfeld calls upon the “more seasoned clinicians among us to broadcast their ‘openness’ to serving as mentors.” He further promotes sponsorship, “the active process of engendering career opportunities for mentees.”
If you would like JBJS to consider your “What’s Important” story for publication, please submit a manuscript via Editorial Manager. When asked to select an article type, please choose Orthopaedic Forum and include “What’s Important:” at the beginning of the title.
Because they are personal in nature, “What’s Important” submissions will not be subject to the usual stringent JBJS peer-review process. Instead, they will be reviewed by the Editor-in-Chief, who will correspond with the author if revisions are necessary and make the final decision regarding acceptance.
Under one name or another, The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery has published quality orthopaedic content spanning three centuries. In 1919, our publication was called the Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery, and the first volume of that journal constituted Volume 1 of what we know today as JBJS.
Thus, the 24 issues we turn out in 2018 will constitute our 100th volume. To help celebrate this milestone, throughout the year we will be spotlighting 100 of the most influential JBJS articles on OrthoBuzz, making the original content openly accessible for a limited time.
Unlike the scientific rigor of Journal content, the selection of this list was not entirely scientific. About half we picked from “JBJS Classics,” which were chosen previously by current and past JBJS Editors-in-Chief and Deputy Editors. We also selected JBJS articles that have been cited more than 1,000 times in other publications, according to Google Scholar search results. Finally, we considered activity on the Web of Science and The Journal’s websites.
We hope you enjoy and benefit from reading these groundbreaking articles from JBJS, as we mark our 100th volume. Here are the first two:
- Congenital Dislocation of the Hip
PL Ramsey, S Lasser, GD MacEwen: JBJS, 1976 Oct; 58 (7): 1000
The introduction of the Pavlik harness revolutionized the treatment of congenital dislocation of the hip in infants. The concept of the “safe zone” was introduced in this article.
- Two-Stage Reimplantation for the Salvage of Infected Total Knee Arthroplasty
J N Insall, F M Thompson, B D Brause: JBJS, 1983 Jan; 65 (8): 1087
This was the first paper to show that a specific reimplantion protocol (debridement of the soft tissues and removal of the prosthesis and all cement, six weeks of parenteral antibiotics, and implantation of a new total knee) could provide predictable results in managing this difficult problem.
Quick and accurate: that’s what orthopaedic surgeons want in diagnostic tools to help them determine whether patients presenting with pain after total joint arthroplasty have an infection. A prospective Level I study by Gehrke et al. in the January 3, 2018 issue of The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery determined that a new lateral flow version of the Synovasure Alpha Defensin Test meets those requirements.
Alpha defensin is a protein secreted by neutrophils in response to bacterial infection, prior to the development of specific immune responses. Earlier research established alpha defensin in synovial aspirates to be an excellent biomarker for periprosthetic joint infection (PJI). The original ELISA-based alpha defensin test is usually sent out for 24-hour processing, limiting its intraoperative utility. However, the lateral flow version of the test (akin to an over-the-counter pregnancy test) was approved for use in Europe—and its results are available in 10 to 15 minutes.
Gehrke et al. compared the rapid test’s results to the diagnostic criteria promulgated by the Musculoskeletal Infection Society (MSIS). According to MSIS criteria, there were 76 joints with PJI among 191 study subjects on whom 195 joint aspirations were performed. Using that as the benchmark for diagnosis, the authors analyzed results from the rapid alpha defensin tests and found the following performance:
- 92.1% sensitivity
- 100% specificity
- 100% positive predictive value
- 95.2% negative predictive value
- 96.9% overall accuracy
Although the rapid test does not provide information about the identity of specific pathogens, the authors conclude that it “enables surgeons to start proper therapy without delay.” That ability comes at a price, however. In Germany, where this study was performed, each rapid test costs about 400 Euros, which is nearly $500 US.
In a commentary on the study, Garth Ehrlich and Michael Palmer cite another possible cost with the rapid-test scenario. Prior to using any alpha defensin test, physicians must rule out metallosis with MRI, because that non-infectious entity triggers false-positive results.
In 2015, JBJS launched an “article exchange” collaboration with the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy (JOSPT) to support multidisciplinary integration, continuity of care, and excellent patient outcomes in orthopaedics and sports medicine.
During the month of January 2018, JBJS and OrthoBuzz readers will have open access to the JOSPT article titled “Hip and Knee Strengthening Is More Effective Than Knee Strengthening Alone for Reducing Pain and Improving Activity in Individuals With Patellofemoral Pain: A Systematic Review With Meta-analysis.”
This study, the findings of which are summarized in the title, found that the positive pain and activity outcomes were achieved without concurrent changes in strength.
Time is perhaps today’s most valuable commodity, and to save JBJS readers time while still providing them with accurate scientific information, The Journal has introduced two new “quick-take” features: infographics and video summaries.
Two articles in the January 3, 2018 edition include an infographic, which encapsulates all the information of a written abstract in one rich, easy-to-digest poster-like image. Click on the titles below to see our first two infographics:
- Randomized Trial Comparing Suture Button with Single Syndesmotic Screw for Syndesmosis Injury
- Long-Term Outcomes of Distal Femoral Extension Osteotomy and Patellar Tendon Advancement in Individuals with Cerebral Palsy
In addition, the January 3, 2018 issue contains a video summary of the syndesmosis-injury study cited above. These 2-minute videos clearly and concisely explain the research question investigated, how it was examined, and what the findings were.
Please let the JBJS editorial team know what you think of these new features by commenting on this post.
Long-term population-based research has documented associations between high BMI and decreased longevity and increased risk of developing diabetes and cardiac complications. Musculoskeletally speaking, the risk of developing osteoarthritis of the knee has been strongly associated with elevated BMI, although the impact of high BMI on the development of hip osteoarthritis has been less clearly defined.
To detail the impact of increased BMI on the developing hip, in the January 3, 2018 issue of The Journal, Novais et al. painstakingly evaluated 128 pelvic CT images from a group of adolescents presenting with abdominal pain but no prior history of hip pathology. The authors found a significant association between increasing BMI percentiles and femoral head-neck alterations, including:
- Increased alpha angle
- Reduced head-neck offset and epiphyseal extension, and
- More posteriorly tilted epiphyses.
Taken together, these morphological anomalies resemble, in the authors’ words, “a post-slip or mild slipped capital femoral epiphysis [SCFE] deformity.”
While the association between elevated body mass and the risk of SCFE has long been known, the impact of high BMI on the morphology of the “normal” hip had not, until now, been described in detail. It makes intuitive mechanical sense that Novais et al. found no impact of high BMI on acetabular anatomy, but because of the orientation of the proximal femoral growth plate, it does make sense that high BMI affects the growing femoral head-neck junction.
It is my hope that consolidating these data with the abundance of other evidence about the health risks of high BMI in growing children will further coalesce worldwide efforts to lower the intake of sugar and “empty carbs” among growing children, and will further spur investment in programs to increase physical activity among this vulnerable age group.
Marc Swiontkowski, MD
The new year of 2018 brings with it the indexing of JBJS Case Connector on PubMed, going back to Volume 1, Issue 1.
Co-edited by Thomas W. Bauer, MD and Ronald W. Lindsey, MD, JBJS Case Connector currently compiles nearly 700 peer-reviewed orthopaedic case reports, empowering surgeons to identify emerging trends and find commonalities between cases to help them provide the best possible care for their patients.
In addition, monthly “Case Connections” essays explore the clinical relationships between recent and prior case reports, further helping surgeons to identify patterns. And JBJS Case Connector “Image Quizzes” provide interactive challenges based on recent Case Connector articles.
To learn more about JBJS Case Connector, click here.
The randomized controlled trial (RCT) may be the gold standard of clinical research, but not all RCTs are created equal. In the December 20, 2017 issue of The Journal, Kay et al. set out to determine the historical quality of more than 400 RCTs relating to anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction published between 1985 and 2016.
The authors evaluated the studies using the Detsky quality index (on which a score of ≥75% is considered “high” methodological quality) and the CONSORT checklist. Fifty-two percent of the studies analyzed were surgical trials (graft choice, femoral fixation method, and single- vs double-bundle techniques), while 48% were nonsurgical trials (analgesic and rehabilitation regimens).
The mean Detsky score across all studies was 68.9% ± 13.2%. Forty-two percent of the studies were considered high-quality according to Detsky scores. There was no significant difference in mean Detsky scores between surgical and nonsurgical trials.
The authors noted a substantial increase in the number of ACL RCTs over time, although that number has not changed significantly since 2009, which is coincidentally the year that JBJS and many other journals required authors to use the CONSORT flow diagram. Notably, the reporting of methodologically sound randomization processes and the prospective calculation of sample sizes have also improved significantly in recent years.
Both the inclusion of a CONSORT flow diagram and the year published were significant predictors of the quality score. A mere 5% of trials published in 2008 or prior included the CONSORT flow diagram, while >40% of trials published since 2009 had a flow diagram.
While the authors are encouraged that “close to 50% of trials in this study reported blinding of outcome assessors,” they say areas for improvement include better “descriptions of allocation concealment and intent-to-treat analyses.”
This basic science tip comes from Fred Nelson, MD, an orthopaedic surgeon in the Department of Orthopedics at Henry Ford Hospital and a clinical associate professor at Wayne State Medical School. Some of Dr. Nelson’s tips go out weekly to more than 3,000 members of the Orthopaedic Research Society (ORS), and all are distributed to more than 30 orthopaedic residency programs. Those not sent to the ORS are periodically reposted in OrthoBuzz with the permission of Dr. Nelson.
Early cartilage changes in early-stage osteoarthritis (OA) often exist before symptoms arise. Using MRI, researchers assessed a random sample of 73 subjects, aged 40 to 79 years and without knee pain, for cartilage changes.1 A self-reported BMI at age 25, a current measured BMI, and change in BMI were recorded. Knee cartilage was scored semi-quantitatively (grades 0 to 4) on MRI. In primary analysis, cartilage damage was defined as ≥2 (at least moderate), and in a secondary analysis as ≥3 (severe). Researchers also conducted a sensitivity analysis by dichotomizing current BMI as <25 vs. ≥25. Logistic regression was used to evaluate the association of each BMI variable with prevalent MRI-detected cartilage damage, adjusted for age and sex.
Their abstract states that among the 73 subjects, knee cartilage damage ≥2 and ≥3 was present in 65.4% and 28.7%, respectively. Note the high prevalence. The median current BMI was 26.1, while the median past BMI was 21.6. For cartilage damage ≥2, current BMI had a non-statistically significant odds ratio (OR) of 1.65 per 5-unit increase in BMI (95% CI 0.93-2.92). For cartilage damage ≥3, current BMI showed a trend towards statistical significance with an OR of 1.70 per 5 units (95% CI 0.99-2.92). Past BMI and change in BMI were not significantly associated with cartilage damage. Current BMI ≥ 25 was statistically significantly associated with cartilage damage ≥2 (OR 3.04 [95% CI 1.10-8.42]), but not with damage ≥3 (OR 2.63 [95% CI 0.86-8.03]).
The take-home is that MRI-detected knee cartilage damage is highly prevalent in asymptomatic populations aged 40 to 79 years. There is a trend towards significance in the relationship between rising BMI and cartilage damage severity. (It should be added there are localities where a BMI of 26.1, which is technically in the “overweight” zone, would be considered relatively low.) Although this study lends some support to the relationship between BMI and the pathogenesis of knee cartilage damage in asymptomatic people, the role of BMI in symptomatic OA progression is clearer.
In another study, researchers showed that weight loss over 48 months among obese and overweight individuals is associated with slowed knee cartilage degeneration and improved knee symptoms.2 These results point to a promising approach to disease modification that carries little or no risk.
- Keng A, Sayre EC, Guermazi A, Nicolaou S, Esdaile JM, Thorne A, Singer J, Kopec JA, Cibere J. Association of body mass index with knee cartilage damage in an asymptomatic population-based study. BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2017 Dec 8;18(1):517. doi: 10.1186/s12891-017-1884-7. PMID: 29221481 PMCID: PMC5723095
- Gersing AS, Solka M, Joseph GB, Schwaiger BJ, Heilmeier U, Feuerriegel G, Nevitt MC, McCulloch CE, Link TM. Progression of cartilage degeneration and clinical symptoms in obese and overweight individuals is dependent on the amount of weight loss: 48-month data from the Osteoarthritis Initiative. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2016 Jul;24(7):1126-34. doi: 10.1016/j.joca.2016.01.984. PMID: 26828356 PMCID: PMC4907808