Economic evaluations in the hip arthroplasty literature: lessons to be learned

J Arthroplasty. 1999 Aug;14(5):527-32. doi: 10.1016/s0883-5403(99)90072-4.


Readers are increasingly encountering articles dealing with health economic evaluations that compare various surgical strategies, leaving orthopaedists with the challenge of determining which program is cost-efficient and truly pertains to their setting. This study carries out a systematic review of the literature to appraise the quality, quantity, and type of economic evaluation as it pertains to the hip arthroplasty literature. To identify all relevant articles, we conducted a comprehensive computerized bibliographic search of Medline from 1966 to 1996. This search produced 1,611 abstracts that were screened. Studies that were incorporated met the following inclusion criteria: i) formal economic analysis, ii) an intervention specific to hip arthroplasty, and iii) the perspective of the study was evident (ie, patient, provider, society). These studies were appraised with regards to methodologic soundness based on 8 established economic principles. Only 68 articles from the 138 retrieved met the study criteria. Only 2 of the 68 articles met all 8 criteria of a comprehensive economic evaluation. The hip arthroplasty literature is deficient in methodologically sound economic evaluations. Several guidelines are introduced to aid orthopaedists in appraising the various economic studies, and recommendations are made to improve the quality of these studies in the orthopaedic literature. We suggest that the generation of such information should rank high on the priority list of the orthopaedic profession, granting agencies, and governments.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Hip / economics*
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Humans