Predicting quality-of-life outcomes following total joint arthroplasty. Limitations of the SF-36 Health Status Questionnaire

J Arthroplasty. 1995 Dec;10(6):742-7. doi: 10.1016/s0883-5403(05)80069-5.


A group of 114 patients undergoing total hip and knee arthroplasty were evaluated to assess the effect of total joint arthroplasty on quality of life, as measured by the SF-36 Health Status Questionnaire, and to determine the predictive relationship between preoperative and postoperative scores. A highly significant improvement was seen comparing preoperative with postoperative scores at 2 years for physical function, social function, physical role function, emotional role function, mental health, energy, and pain. Despite a significant change in health status (P < or = .001), no change was seen in the patient's health perception (P = .61). Regression analysis failed to indicate a predictive relationship between preoperative and postoperative scores for any scale. Total joint arthroplasty dramatically improves the quality of life and function of patients afflicted with arthritis; however, because of the poor ability of the SF-36 to predict postoperative improvement on an individual basis, it cannot be used alone to determine treatment selection.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living / classification
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Status*
  • Hip Prosthesis*
  • Humans
  • Knee Prosthesis*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoarthritis / surgery*
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology*
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Treatment Outcome