Using population data to measure outcomes of care: the case of hip and knee replacements

Health Rep. 2010 Jun;21(2):23-30.


Background: Accumulating evidence points to overall improvements in health-related quality of life after joint replacement for osteoarthritis. Some patients, however, do not appear to benefit from joint replacement. This study investigates health outcomes of patients who underwent hip or knee replacement surgery.

Methods: Linked survey and administrative data were used to compare the health-related quality of life of individuals who underwent surgery (surgical group) with that of their contemporaries who did not (comparison group), adjusting for other determinants of health. Weighted multivariate linear regression analyses were conducted.

Results: When the results were adjusted for other covariates known to be associated with health, the surgical group reported lower functional health (post-operative) than did the comparison group. Differences ranged from 6% lower functional health among hip replacement patients diagnosed with osteoarthritis to 21% lower functional health for those with hip fractures. Among surgical patients with osteoarthritis, co-morbid conditions and being underweight were associated with lower post-operative functional health.

Interpretation: This study is a unique application of linked data to the study of health outcomes of joint replacement at the population level. Outcomes of joint replacement differed by the initial diagnosis or reason for the surgery. For patients with osteoarthritis, poorer post-operative health outcomes were associated with co-morbidites and with being underweight.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Hip* / rehabilitation
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Knee* / rehabilitation
  • Canada
  • Databases, Factual
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • National Health Programs
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care / methods*
  • Quality of Life
  • Regression Analysis