Objective: To evaluate the effect of therapeutic education and functional readaptation (TEFR) on health-related quality of life (HRQL) in patients diagnosed with osteoarthritis on a waiting list for total knee replacement (TKR).
Methods: Randomized controlled trial of 9 months duration was conducted. One hundred consecutive outpatients (71 females, mean age 71 years (range 50-86), mean disease duration 11.84+/-10.52 months) were included. Patients were randomized in two groups. The intervention group received TEFR added to conventional (pharmacological) treatment (n=51). The control group received conventional (pharmacological) treatment only (n=49). The main outcome variable was self-reported HRQL measured by the Spanish version of Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC). Secondary outcomes were general HRQL measured by Short Form Health Survey general questionnaire (SF-36), number of visits to general physicians and their cost. Assessments were done at baseline and at 9 months.
Main results: Eighty patients completed the study. Significant improvement in the WOMAC function was found at 9 months in the TERF group with respect to the control group (P=0.035). Consumption of analgesics increased significantly in the TERF group compared with controls (P=0.036). Significant improvements in pain (P=0.027) measured by WOMAC and in bodily pain (P=0.043) and physical function (P=0.031), measured by SF-36, were observed in the intervention group with respect to baseline.
Conclusions: The function dimension measured by WOMAC of patients who received both pharmacological treatment and TERF improved with respect to the control group receiving only pharmacological treatment. This suggests that a program of TEFR during the period on the waiting list for TKR may reduce the negative impact of this situation.