Objective: To evaluate the association between radiographic hand osteoarthritis (OA), a disease with marked heredity, and radiographic knee OA in patients treated with meniscectomy.
Methods: We retrospectively identified 170 patients (mean age 54 years [range 33-87 years], 23% women) who had undergone isolated meniscectomy an average of 20 years earlier (range 17-22 years). Patients with cruciate ligament injury were excluded. All subjects were examined by standardized knee and hand radiography. Individual joints were considered to have OA when displaying radiographic features corresponding to a Kellgren/Lawrence (K/L) grade > or =2. Hand OA was considered present if at least 1 of the following criteria was fulfilled: the presence of radiographic OA (K/L grade > or =2) in at least 1 interphalangeal joint in each hand symmetrically, or in at least 2 distal or proximal interphalangeal joints in the same hand in a pattern consistent with primary OA (in the same row or ray), or in the first carpometacarpal joint bilaterally. The association between radiographic hand OA and radiographic knee OA was evaluated using logistic regression.
Results: Radiographic hand OA was present in 57 patients (34%) and radiographic knee OA was identified in 105 patients (62%), within 94 index knees (55%) and 47 contralateral knees (28%). In a multivariate model, radiographic hand OA was associated with an increased likelihood of radiographic OA in the index knee (odds ratio [OR] 3.0, 95% confidence interval [95% CI] 1.2-7.5) and in the nonoperated contralateral knee (OR 3.5, 95% CI 1.0-12.2).
Conclusion: The presence of radiographic hand OA is associated with an increased frequency of radiographic knee OA after meniscectomy. This finding confirms and extends that of a single previous study showing an interaction between hereditary and environmental risk factors for OA, a common and genetically complex disease. Accordingly, the development of OA following a meniscal tear and the resulting meniscal surgery should not be regarded to be of secondary origin only.