Higher comorbidity, poor functional status and higher health care utilization in veterans with prevalent total knee arthroplasty or total hip arthroplasty

Clin Rheumatol. 2009 Sep;28(9):1025-33. doi: 10.1007/s10067-009-1201-4. Epub 2009 Jun 11.


The objective of this study was to compare comorbidity, functional ability, and health care utilization in veterans with total knee arthroplasty (TKA) or total hip arthroplasty (THA) versus matched control populations. A cohort of veterans using Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare system reported limitations in six activities of daily living (ADLs; bathing, dressing, eating, walking, transferring, and using the toilet), demographics, and physician-diagnosed comorbidity. VA databases provided healthcare utilization and International Classification of Diseases-9/Common procedure terminology codes for TKA/THA. Patients were classified as: (1) primary TKA; (2) primary THA; (3) combination group (>or=1 procedure); and (4) control veteran population (no THA/TKA). Multivariable regression analyses compared the risk or counts of ADL limitation and in-/out-patient visits. After multivariable adjustment, TKA, THA or combination groups had significantly higher prevalence of the following compared to veteran controls: arthritis, diabetes, or heart disease (p < 0.0001 each), severe (>or=3) ADL limitation (33%, 42%, 42% vs. 24%; p < 0.0001), and annual hospitalization rate (24%, 19%, 26% vs. 16%, p < 0.0001). Annual outpatient surgery visits were more (2.5, 2.3, 2.3 vs. 2, p = 0.01) and risk of any mental health outpatient visit was lower (12%, 11%, 12% vs. 18%, p = 0.0039). All ADLs, except eating, were significantly more limited in arthroplasty groups (p <or= 0.0009). Severe ADL limitation was more prevalent in veterans with arthroplasty than in two age-matched US cohorts: 13.4 times in >or=65 years; and 1.2-, 1.6-, and 4-fold in >or=85, 75-84, and 65-74 years. Poorer function and higher comorbidity and utilization in veterans with TKA/THA suggest that this group is appropriate for interventions targeted at improving function and decreasing utilization.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Ambulatory Surgical Procedures / statistics & numerical data
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Hip / statistics & numerical data*
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Knee / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Comorbidity
  • Databases, Factual
  • Female
  • Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Inpatients / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Mental Health Services / statistics & numerical data
  • Middle Aged
  • Midwestern United States / epidemiology
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Prevalence
  • Primary Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Risk Factors
  • Veterans / statistics & numerical data*