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What Do We Know About Patients Who Have Hip Replacements?

Posted on: 03/22/2007
There's a report that says about 200,000 total hip replacements (THRs) are done each year. But how do they know that? Well, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) gathers data from hospitals across the United States and reports on it.

In this report, over eight million hospital records from one database and nine million from five different states were reviewed. The number of total, partial, or revision hip replacements were identified.

It turns out that besides the 200,000 THRs done, there were also 100,000 partial hip replacements, and 36,000 revision hip replacements. Although this seems like a large number of operations, THR is only one per cent of all surgeries done in the U.S.

Patients having any of the hip replacement surgeries were usually 65 years old (or older). Surgery was elective (planned) for most people up to age 75. After age 75, 80 per cent of the patients were emergency operations.

Three-fourths of all patients had one or more other diseases or problems at the time of the hip surgery. Most often they had diabetes, heart failure, or kidney problems.

Number of complications and deaths were tracked for the first 30 and then 90 days after the hip surgery. The most common problems were blood clots, pressure ulcers, and infections. Sometimes excessive bleeding and hip dislocation were post operative problems, too.

Patients getting a partial hip replacement had the highest number of complications. They were often older, sicker, and treated in smaller hospitals where fewer hip replacements were done routinely.

And finally, the study showed that most patients having a THR have a main diagnosis of osteoarthritis. Partial hip replacements are done most often on patients with a hip fracture. In particular, there is a break in the neck of the femur (thigh bone). Revision hip replacement is usually done when something has gone wrong with the original implant or graft.

Chunliu Zhan, MD, PhD, et al. Incidence and Short-Term Outcomes of Primary and Revision Hip Replacement in the United States. In Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. March 2007. Vol. 89-A. No. 3. Pp. 526-533.

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