Extent of Tibiofemoral Osteoarthritis Before Knee Arthroplasty: Multicenter Data from the Osteoarthritis Initiative

Department of Physical Therapy, Virginia Commonwealth University, P.O. Box 980224, Richmond, VA, 23298, USA, .
Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research (Impact Factor: 2.77). 03/2012; 470(10):2836-42. DOI: 10.1007/s11999-012-2328-1
Source: PubMed


Knee arthroplasty traditionally is recommended for persons with substantial disability and disabling pain attributable to moderate or severe osteoarthritis (OA). Pain and functional status after arthroplasty may be influenced by the extent of knee OA before surgery and recent evidence suggests persons with less severe knee OA before undergoing TKA have greater pain levels and worse function than persons with more severe knee OA.
We determined the proportion of patients undergoing knee arthroplasty who had less than moderate knee OA before surgery and who had either a radiographically normal medial or lateral joint space before surgery.
One hundred sixteen persons in the Osteoarthritis Initiative underwent knee arthroplasty during a 3-year period. Ninety-seven of the 116 patients (84%) had radiographs available less than 1 year before surgery and were included. We used Z-tests to determine whether the proportion of patients with a modified Kellgren-Lawrence (KL) grade of 3 or higher differed from literature-based estimates. In addition, we described the proportion of patients with medial and lateral joint space narrowing.
The proportion of patients with a modified KL grade of 3 or higher was 0.81 (95% CI, 0.73-0.89) and was less than the 0.95 estimated population proportion. Of the patients who underwent knee arthroplasty, 85% (82 of 97 knee arthroplasties) had at least one tibiofemoral joint compartment that had no joint space narrowing. One in six patients with OA who underwent knee arthroplasty had a KL grade of 2 or lower.
Variation in the extent of tibiofemoral OA in patients preparing for joint arthroplasty is greater than previously described. A greater percentage of patients undergoing knee arthroplasty may be at risk for increased pain and poorer function than previously assumed after surgery because of less severe knee OA before surgery.
Level I, diagnostic study. See Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

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    ABSTRACT: Most orthopedic surgeons do not routinely use radiographic classification systems to grade the extent of joint space narrowing in patients considered for total knee arthroplasty. The authors compared the validity and reliability of radiographic measures of tibiofemoral osteoarthritis by 2 experienced and 2 inexperienced orthopedic surgeons on individuals who subsequently underwent total knee arthroplasty. The Kellgren-Lawrence and the Osteoarthritis Research Society International classification systems were used by all surgeons to score the radiographs in 116 individuals in the Osteoarthritis Initiative, a federally funded cohort study of individuals with or at risk of knee osteoarthritis. Validity was judged based on comparison with the criterion centrally adjudicated consensus measures obtained by Osteoarthritis Initiative investigators. Weighted kappa, a chance corrected agreement index, was used to describe validity and reliability. Validity and intrarater reliability were substantial to almost perfect for 1 experienced and 1 inexperienced surgeon, with weighted kappas ranging from 0.76 to 0.96 for the surgical knees. The other experienced and inexperienced surgeons demonstrated moderate to substantial validity, with weighted kappas ranging from 0.43 to 0.70 and lower intrarater reliability. Interrater reliability was generally less than intrarater reliability. With minimal training, some surgeons can obtain valid and reliable measurements of knee osteoarthritis status in individuals who eventually undergo total knee arthroplasty. Measurement quality does not appear to be dependent on extent of surgeon experience. Some surgeons require additional training to become proficient in the radiographic classification systems, and future research should examine this issue.
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