The current literature about revision total knee arthroplasty (rTKA) for aseptic causes is focused mainly on “doctorly” data such as complication rates and implant survivorship. Taking a different tack in the October 21, 2020 issue of JBJS, Siddiqi et al. report findings from a comprehensive evaluation of patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) at baseline and 1 year following rTKA. The PROMs evaluated included KOOS-Pain, KOOS-Physical Function, KOOS-QOL, and Veterans Rand-12.
Here is a general summary of the findings:
- Patients undergoing aseptic rTKA had overall improvements in pain and function scores at 1 year postoperatively.
- Knee-related QOL improved nearly 30 points, but >50% of patients did not report improvement in their overall global health at 1 year.
- Predictors of improved 1-year pain scores were older age, baseline arthrofibrosis, lower baseline pain, and non-Medicare/Medicaid insurance.
- Predictors of improved 1-year function scores were baseline arthrofibrosis and female sex.
- Larger mean pain-score improvements occurred in patients undergoing rTKA for implant failure and aseptic loosening; pain-score improvements were lower in patients undergoing rTKA for instability.
Although 31% of the 246 eligible patients were lost to follow-up and excluded from the final analysis, the authors say their findings “corroborate the overall quality and, most importantly, the value that aseptic rTKA provides to patients.” Perhaps the findings’ greatest value is their potential application in the shared decision-making process between surgeons and patients pondering an aseptic rTKA, and in helping set realistic patient expectations if the surgery is undertaken.
Patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) have become increasingly important tools in the 30 years since the orthopaedic community began embracing the movement toward the “patient perspective.” Clinical findings such as range of motion and imaging results remain important, but we have come to understand that pain and function–as reported by the patient–are the most crucial data points. And we are not alone. Insurance companies, registries, scholarly publications, and research review panels now often require PROMs as part of their core evaluations.
But not all PROMs are created equal. For clinicians to trust the output from these instruments, validation of the measures is required. This entails reliability testing and assessment of face, construct, and criterion validity. Furthermore, translating PROMs validated in English into other languages involves not only linguistic translation, but also cultural components in order to capture the full patient perspective.
In the August 5, 2020 issue of The Journal, Bin Sheeha et al. report their work in evaluating the responsiveness, reliability, and validity of the Arabic-language version of the Oxford Knee Score (OKS-Ar). After painstaking statistical analysis of OKS-Ar questionnaires completed by 100 Arabic-speaking patients (80 of whom were female) before and after total knee arthroplasty (TKA), the authors concluded that the OKS-Ar is a valid, sensitive, and easy-to-use instrument to assess pain and function in TKA-treated individuals whose main language is Arabic.
To be truthful, this is not very glamorous research to conduct or very exciting to read about. However, it is absolutely fundamental to ensuring the validity of multicenter, international trials and registry studies. In essence, Bin Sheeha et al. have dug a conduit that facilitates the flow of reliable data and that will help improve future patient care worldwide. As such, it deserves our attention, understanding, and appreciation.
Marc Swiontkowski, MD