AAOS Annual Meeting Roundup

With 840 scientific presentations, 560 posters, and 200 instructional course lectures, even OrthoBuzz couldn’t comprehensively summarize the 2014 AAOS Annual Meeting in New Orleans. But here’s a small random sampling of findings reported at the meeting that you might find interesting. Please remember that these data have not appeared in peer-reviewed journals and should be considered preliminary.

TENS for Low Back Pain Could Save Medicare Nearly a Half-Billion Dollars

If all of its estimated 1.5 million beneficiaries with chronic low back pain were treated with TENS—transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation—Medicare could save about $417 million in annual treatment costs, said Michael Minshall, MPH (paper #474). The figures are based partly on published research showing that TENS patients use significantly fewer health care resources (hospital and office visits, imaging, physical therapy, and surgery) than those receiving other treatments.

Allografts Fail Three Times More Frequently than Autografts in Primary ACL Reconstruction

A prospective randomized trial of 99 ACL reconstruction patients in their twenties revealed a 10-year 26.5% failure rate when tibialis posterior tendon allografts were used, compared with an 8.5% failure rate for hamstring autografts. Presenter Craig Bottoni, MD (paper # 462) said both groups received the same fixation technique and the same postoperative rehab program by physical therapists who were blinded to the treatment allocation.

Tranexamic Acid Cuts Transfusion Rates during TJA without Boosting VTEs

Scott Wingerter, MD (paper #1) presented data from Washington University School of Medicine (WUSM) showing that transfusion rates declined substantially during primary and revision hip and knee replacement procedures after tranexamic acid began being used routinely at WUSM. The incidence of venous thromboembolism was also lower in the group that received tranexamic acid, although that difference was not statistically significant.

Repeat Skin Antisepsis May Reduce Surgical Site Infections

A randomized, prospective study of nearly 600 patients undergoing total joint replacement found that those who received additional skin antisepsis with an iodine povacrylex/alcohol combination after surgical draping but before incise draping were far less likely to experience a superficial surgical site infection than those who received standard skin preparation with chlorhexidine, alcohol, and betadine. Presenter Tiffany Morrison, MS (paper # 49) also noted a non-significant difference in rates of skin blistering between the two groups.

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