Geographic variation and factors associated with rates of knee arthroplasty in Korea-a population based ecological study. BMC Musculoskelet Disord 20, 400 (2019).

Geographic variation and factors associated with rates of knee arthroplasty in Korea-a population based ecological study

Kim, A.M., Kang, S., Park, J.H. et al.
Knee

Background

The recent increase in knee arthroplasty (KA) use in Korea is among the highest in the world. The rapid increase in KA use suggests that the KA use in Korea could have been affected by medically unjustifiable factors. This study aimed to examine the geographic variation in the rate of KA and its associated factors in Korea.

Methods

We used the data from the National Health Insurance in Korea in 2013, from which a total of 67,086 claims for KA were obtained. We calculated the age-sex-standardized KA rates of the entire population and the crude rates of the age groups 0–64 and 65 and over in 251 districts. We assessed the geographic variation of the KA rates and examined the associated factors with a multivariate linear regression with the KA rate as a dependent variable.

Results

The overall rate of KA in Korea was 132.7 per 100,000 persons. The rates of KA showed a four-fold variation. The deprivation index score and the number of beds in the small to medium sized hospitals showed a positive association with the rates of KA while the number of orthopedic surgeons showed a negative association.

Conclusions

Korea has been experiencing a rapid increase in the use of KA for the last decade or so, which was most prominent among the elderly population aged 65 and older. Our results suggest that the higher rate of KA is strongly related to a higher supply of beds and the socioeconomically deprived conditions. Considering that the decision concerning KA has room for discretion and also affects a considerable portion of health care expenditures, the use of KA should be thoroughly monitored with more emphasis on standardization in the decision making process and preventive measures that can lessen the need for KA.


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