Background: Elbow arthroplasty is the treatment of choice for end-stage rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The purpose of this study was to determine the long-term outcome of a linked semiconstrained elbow arthroplasty implant design in patients with RA.
Methods: Between 1982 and 2006, 461 primary total elbow arthroplasties using the Coonrad-Morrey prosthesis were performed in 387 patients with RA. Fifty-five of the arthroplasties were performed to treat concurrent traumatic or posttraumatic conditions. There were 305 women (365 elbows, 79%) and 82 men (96 elbows, 21%). Ten patients (10 elbows) were lost to follow-up, 9 patients (10 elbows) died, and 6 patients (6 elbows) underwent revision surgery within the first 2 years. For the 435 elbows (362 patients, 94%) with a minimum of 2 years of follow-up, the median follow-up was 10 years (range, 2 to 30 years).
Results: At the most recent follow-up, 49 (11%) of the elbows had undergone component revision or removal (deep infection, 10 elbows; and mechanical failure, 39 elbows). Eight additional elbows were considered to have radiographic evidence of loosening. For surviving implants followed for a minimum of 2 years, the median Mayo Elbow Performance Score (MEPS) was 90 points. Bushing wear was identified in 71 (23%) of the surviving elbows with a minimum of 2 years of radiographic follow-up; however, only 2% of the elbows had been revised for isolated bushing wear. The rate of survivorship free of implant revision or removal for any reason was 92% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 88% to 94%) at 10 years, 83% (95% CI = 77% to 88%) at 15 years, and 68% (95% CI = 56% to 78%) at 20 years. The survivorship at 20 years was 88% (95% CI = 83% to 92%) with revision due to aseptic loosening as the end point and 89% (95% CI = 77% to 95%) with isolated bushing exchange as the end point. Risk factors for implant revision for any cause included male sex, a history of concomitant traumatic pathology, and implantation of an ulnar component with a polymethylmethacrylate surface finish.
Conclusions: Elbow arthroplasty using a cemented linked semiconstrained elbow arthroplasty provides satisfactory clinical results in the treatment of RA with a reasonable rate of survivorship free of mechanical failure at 20 years. Although bushing wear was identified on radiographs in approximately one-fourth of the patients, revision for isolated bushing wear was uncommon.
Level of Evidence: Therapeutic Level IV. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.
1Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota
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