Total Knee Replacement Safe for Most Patients

FRIDAY, Nov. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Total knee replacement is cost- effective for patients with end-stage arthritis, even for high-risk patients with multiple medical problems, say researchers who used a computer model to compare the costs and benefits of living with end-stage arthritis or having a knee replaced.

They found that total knee replacement can increase quality-adjusted life expectancy (which takes into account both quality of quantity of years lived) by 2.5 years among most patients and by 2.1 years among high-risk patients.

Lifetime costs for patients who didn't have total knee replacement averaged $29,000, compared with $41,500 for those who had TKR, resulting in a cost-effectiveness ratio of $5,300 per quality-adjusted life year (QALY). The cost effectiveness ratio for high-risk patients who had a knee replaced was $7,000/QALY.

"We found that total knee replacement represents an effective and very cost-effective option for all patients with knee arthritis, not just those whom we might label 'ideal' candidates," lead author Elena Losina said in a prepared statement.

"While it has been shown that higher volume facilities deliver better outcomes at lower cost, we would like to stress that total knee replacement remains an attractive treatment option even in lower-volume settings," she added.

The study was to be presented this week at the American College of Rheumatology meeting, in Boston.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: American College of Rheumatology, news release, Nov. 7, 2007

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