In an aging society, there will be an increased demand for total knee arthroplasty (TKA) in those over 80 years. This latest study, published in the November 2018 issue of The Bone & Joint Journal, investigates the effect of age on patient outcomes after TKA by comparing patients below and over 80 years old.
Undergraduate students will often participate in a short research project for half a year as part of their course curriculum. In some cases where the project is particularly productive, students can write their findings into a publication as has been the case for Dr Ben Murphy, a medical student on a research placement. Ben worked with A/Prof Michelle Dowsey, Dr Tim Spelman and Prof Peter Choong at St. Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne to investigate how age might influence the outcomes of TKA.
The study found that older patients post-surgery were able to gain similar benefits to physical movement as younger patients and showed no difference in wound complications. However, the older patients did tend to present a higher rate of post-operative medical complications, longer hospital stay and rehabilitation time. A number of suggestions were presented as causal factors such as: the lack of social support available, frailty and lower muscle bulk.
One of the important takeaways from this study is that measuring the length of hospital stay can be an indicator of post- and intra-operative care and the use of resources. Any complications can help pinpoint areas that should be investigated and reviewed to improve future patient outcomes. It’s an important part of one of our research pillars, Stream 4, where OPUS scrutinises the complete osteoarthritis management journey to pinpoint unnecessary risks and excess waste of resources.