October 2001 Bulletin

Research proposed on unmet need for joint arthroplasty

A research proposal is being developed for National Institutes of Health funding to investigate the presence and scope of unmet need for joint arthroplasty for patients with hip and knee arthritis in the United States.

The study would focus on high-risk groups, such as women, those with lower socioeconomic class and minorities. The proposed research would determine potential need for and willingness to undergo hip and knee arthroplasty in the U.S. and determine potential need by age, sex and race. Also, the research would investigate the rate of inappropriate use of hip and knee arthroplasty and investigate reasons for unwillingness to pursue hip and knee arthroplasty.

James Wright, MD, University of Toronto, outlined the scope of the research at a meeting of the AAOS Board of Directors, Sept. 7, 2001. Dr. Wright and colleagues conducted a study in Canada that demonstrated substantial unmet need for hip and knee arthroplasty, particularly in women. It’s not known whether these findings can be generalized to the U.S. where rates of joint arthroplasty are much higher than in Canada. However, the Dartmouth Atlas of Musculoskeletal Health Care has found great geographic variation in the rates of joint arthroplasty in the U.S.

Dr. Wright and James Weinstein, DO, MS, principal investigator for The Dartmouth Atlas, will work with an AAOS task force to develop the NIH submission and facilitate involvement of orthopaedic surgeons.

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