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Quality-Adjusted Life Years After Hip and Knee Arthroplasty: Health-Related Quality of Life After 12,782 Joint Replacements

Konopka, Joseph F., MD, MSca,1; Lee, Yuo-yu, MS1; Su, Edwin P., MD1; McLawhorn, Alexander S., MD, MBA1

doi: 10.2106/JBJS.OA.18.00007
Scientific Articles: PDF Only

Background: The quality-adjusted life year (QALY) is the preferred outcome measurement for cost-effectiveness analysis in health care. QALYs measure patient health-related quality of life with use of a value between 0 and 1. Few studies have provided original data delineating QALYs after hip and knee arthroplasty. In the present study, we evaluated patient utility preoperatively and 2 years after total hip arthroplasty, hip resurfacing, revision hip arthroplasty, total knee arthroplasty, unicompartmental knee arthroplasty, and revision knee arthroplasty.

Methods: A single-hospital joint registry, which enrolled patients from 2007 to 2011, was retrospectively examined for all patients who underwent primary or revision hip or knee arthroplasty and who had preoperative and 2-year postoperative Short Form-36 (SF-36), Short Form-12 (SF-12), or EuroQol 5-Dimension (EQ-5D) scores available. Patient age, body mass index (BMI), sex, American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) score, and Charlson Comorbidity Index were recorded. QALYs were determined from the EQ-5D index and the Short Form-6 Dimension (SF-6D) index.

Results: Five thousand, four hundred and sixty-three patients underwent total hip arthroplasty, with a mean annual increase (and standard deviation) of 0.25 ± 0.2 QALY; 843 patients underwent hip resurfacing, with a mean annual increase of 0.24 ± 0.17 QALY; 5,398 patients underwent primary total knee arthroplasty, with a mean annual increase of 0.17 ± 0.19 QALY; and 240 patients underwent medial unicompartmental knee arthroplasty, with a mean annual increase of 0.16 ± 0.17 QALY. Aseptic revision arthroplasty (440 hips, 323 knees) was associated with a smaller QALY gain than primary arthroplasty. Patient age, BMI, female sex, ASA category, and higher preoperative health-related quality of life were negative predictors for QALY gain after primary arthroplasty. Forty additional hip procedures and 35 additional knee procedures were also analyzed.

Conclusions: Primary hip and knee arthroplasty, on average, result in substantially increased patient quality of life. Revision hip and knee replacement result in a lower, but still positive, gain in quality of life. However, there is a considerable variation in patient outcomes across all procedures. Our results may be used to improve the certainty of future cost-effectiveness analyses of hip and knee arthroplasty.

Level of Evidence: Therapeutic Level III. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

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1Adult Reconstruction & Joint Replacement Division, The Hospital for Special Surgery, New York, NY

E-mail address for J.F. Konopka:

Investigation performed at the Adult Reconstruction & Joint Replacement Division, The Hospital for Special Surgery, New York, NY

Disclosure: No external source funded this investigation. On the Disclosure of Potential Conflicts of Interest forms, which are provided with the online version of the article, one or more of the authors checked “yes” to indicate that the author had a relevant financial relationship in the biomedical arena outside the submitted work (

© 2018 The Authors. Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. on behalf of The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Incorporated.