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Fluctuating Glucose Levels Linked to Post-TJA Problems

Blood Sugar Test for OBuzzAt any given time, a patient’s blood-glucose level is easy to measure. Beyond the standard pre/postoperative lab values, there are finger sticks, transdermal meters, and other modalities that make taking a patient’s glucose “snapshot” pretty straightforward.  So why don’t we surgeons keep track of it more frequently before and after joint replacement, when, according to the prognostic study by Shohat et al. in the July 5, 2018 issue of JBJS, fluctuating glucose levels can have a critical impact on outcomes?

By retrospectively studying more than 5,000 patients who had undergone either total hip or total knee arthroplasty, the authors found that increased variability of glucose levels (measured by a coefficient of variation) was associated with increased risks of 90-day mortality, surgical-site infection, and periprosthetic joint infection. Specifically, the authors demonstrated that for every 10-percentage-point increase in the glycemic coefficient of variation, the risk of 90-day mortality increased by 26%, and the risk of periprosthetic or surgical-site infection increased by 20%. These are remarkable increases in extremely important outcome measures, and the associations held regardless of the patient’s mean glucose values prior to or after the surgery.  In fact, some of the highest levels of glucose variability were found in patients who had well-controlled glucose levels preoperatively. Furthermore, as Charles Cornell, MD points out in a commentary on this study, “Glucose variability appears to affect surgical prognosis more than chronic hyperglycemia.”

These findings were surprising and a bit concerning. I don’t tend to order routine blood-glucose measurements postoperatively on patients who appear to be euglycemic based on preoperative testing. Yet, according to these data, maybe I should. Findings of high glucose variability postoperatively might now prompt me to consult with endocrine or perioperative medicine specialists or at least consider informing patients with fluctuating glucose levels that they may be at increased risk of serious postoperative complications.

Measuring a patient’s blood sugar is neither challenging nor prohibitively expensive. So why don’t we monitor it more closely? Probably because, until now, we have not had a compelling reason to do so with “low-risk” patients. What this study suggests is that our definition of a “low-risk” patient from a glycemic-control standpoint may be misinformed.  And while further research needs to be performed to corroborate these findings, that is a pretty scary thought to digest.

Chad A. Krueger, MD
JBJS Deputy Editor for Social Media

Adductor Canal Block Compared with Periarticular Bupivacaine Injection for Total Knee Arthroplasty

In the last decade, the widespread use of regional anesthesia in total knee arthroplasty has led to improvements in pain control, more rapid functional recovery, and reductions in the length of the hospital stay. #JBJS #JBJSInfoGraphics #visualabsrtact

Full article: https://bit.ly/2zrZvJW

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Intravenous Versus Topical Tranexamic Acid in Total Knee Arthroplasty

Tranexamic acid (TXA) reduces bleeding and the need for transfusion after total knee arthroplasty. Most literature has focused on intravenous (IV) administration of TXA, with less data available on the efficacy of topically administered TXA. https://bit.ly/2tysir0JBJS.IG.17.00908.ig

Using Tranexamic Acid: Not If, But How

TXAMost surgeons agree that tranexamic acid (TXA) is effective at reducing blood loss associated with a variety of surgical procedures, including total joint arthroplasty. The question is no longer whether it works but, more specifically, how is TXA most safely and effectively used. That was the main question Abdel et al. set out to answer in their study in the June 20, 2018 edition of The Journal. The authors completed a two-center randomized trial that compared blood loss, drain output, and transfusion rates among 320 total knee arthroplasty (TKA) patients who received intravenous (IV) TXA and 320 TKA patients who received topical TXA.

Statistically, the results of the study are clear: Patients who received intravenous TXA had significantly less blood loss (271 mL vs 324 mL; p=0.005) than those who received topical TXA. Furthermore, after authors controlled for several patient characteristics, they found that those who received topical TXA were 2.2 times more likely to receive a transfusion than those who received intravenous TXA. Still, both modalities resulted in very low transfusion and complication rates of <2% each.

Although IV TXA seems to be more effective at decreasing blood loss than topical TXA in the setting of TKA, Abdel et al. question whether the 53 mL difference is “clinically important,” considering the very low transfusion rates in both groups. What might be more clinically meaningful is the fact that the topical TXA group experienced a 5-minute delay during the procedure so the TXA could stay in contact with the tissues prior to suction and wound closure. Such a delay (which could account for about 5% of total surgical time) could put some patients at risk for other complications and is questionable without an appreciable benefit.

So, will every knee-replacement surgeon now use IV TXA instead of topical TXA? Of course not. Although the authors emphasize that there does not appear to be an increased risk of blood-clot-related complications when using IV TXA, some surgeons will still shy away from using that route of administration in certain patients.  Also, some surgeons may question this study’s generalizability because of the number of perioperative variables described in the methods.

Still, I commend the authors on performing such a large, well-designed study.  It is easy to pick apart data from the viewpoint of external validity, but these results are statistically steadfast. While we probably do not need more studies looking at the efficacy of TXA in total joint arthroplasty, further studies looking at the optimal manner in which the medication can be administered are welcomed.

Chad A. Krueger, MD
JBJS Deputy Editor for Social Media

June 2018 Article Exchange with JOSPT

jospt_article_exchange_logo1In 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 June 2018, JBJS and OrthoBuzz readers will have open access to the JOSPT article titled “Physical Activity and Exercise Therapy Benefit More Than Just Symptoms and Impairments in People With Hip and Knee Osteoarthritis.”

The authors issue a clear “call to action” for exercise therapy in patients with hip and knee osteoarthritis (OA), not only because it reduces arthritis symptoms, but also because physical activity helps prevent at least 35 chronic conditions and helps treat at least 26 chronic conditions.

Progression of Cervical Spine Degeneration Over 20 Years

Few studies have addressed in detail long-term degenerative changes in the cervical spine. https://jbjs.org/reader.php?source=The_Journal_of_Bone_and_Joint_Surgery/100/10/843/fulltext&id=30295&rsuite_id=1666209#info #JBJSInfographics #VisualAbstract

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JBJS 100: Massive Rotator Cuff Tears, Continuous Passive Motion

JBJS 100Under 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 was 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 two more:

The Outcome and Repair Integrity of Completely Arthroscopically Repaired Large and Massive Rotator Cuff Tears
L M Galatz, C M Ball, S A Teefey, W D Middleton, K Yamaguchi: JBJS, 2004 February; 86 (2): 219
In one of the earliest studies to investigate the relationship between the anatomic integrity of arthroscopic rotator cuff repair and clinical outcome, these authors found that the rate of recurrent defects was high but that at 12 months after surgery, patients experienced excellent pain relief and functional improvement. However, at the 2-year follow-up, the clinical results had deteriorated substantially. Investigations into the relationship between cuff-repair integrity and clinical outcomes are ongoing.

The Biological Effect of Continuous Passive Motion on the Healing of Full-thickness Defects in Articular Cartilage: An Experimental Investigation in the Rabbit
R B Salter, D F Simmonds, B W Malcolm, E J Rumble, D Macmichael, N D Clements: JBJS, 1980 January; 62 (8): 1232
In this paper, Salter and colleagues hypothesized that “continuous passive motion [CPM] of a synovial joint in vivo would have a beneficial biological effect on the healing of full-thickness defects in articular cartilage.” They found that CPM stimulated more rapid and complete cartilage restoration than either immobilization or intermittent active motion, and since then CPM has been commonly used in humans after cartilage repair. However, CPM’s actual efficacy in people—after cartilage repair or total knee arthroplasty—remains controversial.

Impact of Clinical Practice Guidelines on Use of Injections for Knee OA

Knee Injection for OBuzzIn a recent OrthoBuzz post, I commented on the apparent benefits to patients when Scottish hip-fracture guidelines were followed. Now, in a “closer-to-home” study in the May 16, 2018 issue of JBJS, Bedard et al. examine the effects of AAOS clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) on the use of injections for knee osteoarthritis (OA). The authors used an insurance database housing more than 1 million knee OA patients to evaluate the change in rates of corticosteroid and hyaluronic acid injections from 2007 to 2015. This date range includes the periods before and after the publication of the AAOS CPGs for knee arthritis (both the first edition, published in early 2009, and the second edition, published in late 2013).

The authors found that the rate of hyaluronic acid injections by orthopaedic surgeons decreased significantly after both publications of the guidelines and that the utilization of corticosteroid injections appears to have plateaued since the most recently published guidelines. Still, almost 40% of all of the patients in the cohort received a corticosteroid injection, with 13% having received a hyaluronic acid injection. In absolute numbers, those percentages represent more than half a million injections, despite the facts that the evidence supporting either injection for the treatment of knee OA is weak at best and that almost half of the patients receiving one of these injections ended up getting a total knee replacement within a year.

While the changes in practice revealed by Bedard et al. may seem relatively small, they are a step in the right direction toward value-based care.  CPGs are easy to pick apart, but they are developed carefully and for a good reason—to provide us with evidence-based recommendations for excellent patient care. It is gratifying to see that such guidelines are having a positive impact in our field.

Chad A. Krueger, MD
JBJS Deputy Editor for Social Media

JBJS 100: Knee Hemarthrosis and Achilles Ruptures

JBJS 100Under 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 was 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 two more:

Arthroscopy in Acute Traumatic Hemarthrosis of the Knee
F R Noyes, R W Bassett, E S Grood, D L Butler: JBJS, 1980 July; 62 (5): 687
This paper was among the first to identify the high rate of serious knee injuries among patients with acute traumatic hemarthrosis (ATH). Noyes’ paper showed that 72% of knees with ATH also had some degree of ACL injury. While orthopaedists generally no longer use knee arthroscopy as a diagnostic tool in the setting of ATH, because of this article, they often order MRI when patients present with this acute knee injury.

Operative versus Nonoperative Treatment of Acute Achilles Tendon Ruptures
K Willits, A Amendola, D Bryant, N Mohtadi, J R Giffin, P Fowler, C O Kean, A Kirkley: JBJS, 2010 December 1; 92 (17): 2767
This multicenter randomized trial was not the first to compare surgical treatment of Achilles tendon ruptures with nonoperative treatment that included early functional range of motion, but it confirmed that in patients treated nonoperatively, early functional treatment is preferable to cast immobilization. Since this paper was published, more than 20 studies investigating Achilles tendon ruptures have been published in JBJS, emphasizing that the search goes on for treatment protocols—surgical and nonoperative—that are effective and relatively free of complications.

Alpha Defensin Lateral Flow Test for Diagnosis of Periprosthetic Joint Infection: Not a Screening but a Confirmatory Test

Determination of alpha defensin in synovial fluid has shown promising results for diagnosing periprosthetic joint infection (PJI). https://bit.ly/2rH8JuN #JBJSInfographics #JBJS

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