Objective: The aims of this study were to assess changes in physical function and quality of life with the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) and the instrument of the Medical Outcomes Study SF-36 Health Survey (MOS SF-36), respectively, in patients undergoing hip anf knee joint replacement surgery and to compare the responsiveness of these two outcome measures 1 year after surgery.
Design: One hundred and ninety-four patients with osteoarthritis (OA knee 108, OA hip 86) admitted to four hospitals in Sydney were followed over a period of 1 year at 3 monthly intervals.
Results: WOMAC measures improved significantly after 1 year for OA hip and OA knee: there was reduction in pain of 71% and 53%, reduction of stiffness of 55% and 43% and improvement in physical function of 68% and 43%, respectively. MOS SF-36 measures in those having hip surgery improved significantly for pain (222%), physical function (247%), physical role functioning (402%), general health (110%), vitality (143%0, social functioning (169%) and mental health (114%). For those in the knee surgery group, significant improvement was seen for pain (175%), physical function (197%), physical role functioning (275%), vitality (125%) and social functioning (119%). The WOMAC was a more responsive measure than the MOS SF-36.
Conclusion: WOMAC and MOS SF-36 detect significant and clinically meaningful changes in outcome after hip and knee replacement. WOMAC requires a smaller sample size and is more responsive in the short term. For a follow-up longer than 6 months MOS SF-36 provides additional information. The improvement in outcomes following hip joint surgery were significantly greater than those following knee surgery.