Identification of knee osteoarthritis disability phenotypes regarding activity limitation: a cluster analysis. BMC Musculoskelet Disord 21, 237 (2020).

Identification of knee osteoarthritis disability phenotypes regarding activity limitation: a cluster analysis

Vongsirinavarat, M., Nilmart, P., Somprasong, S. et al.
Knee

Background

Studies have reported the subtypes of individuals with knee osteoarthritis (OA) attempting to cluster this heterogonous condition. Activity limitations are commonly used to set goals in knee OA management and better identify subgroups based on level of disability in this patient population. Therefore, the objective of this study was to identify those activity limitations which could classify the disability phenotypes of knee OA. The phenotypes were also validated by comparing impairments and participation restrictions.

Methods

Participants comprised individuals with symptomatic knee OA. They were interviewed and undertook physical examination according to a standard evaluation forms based on the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) model. Cluster analysis was used to determine those activity limitations which could best classify the phenotypes of knee OA. To validate the clustered variables, comparisons and regression analysis were performed for the impairments consisting of pain intensity, passive range of motion and muscle strength, and the participation restrictions included the difficulty level of acquiring goods and services and community life.

Results

In all, 250 participants with symptomatic knee OA were enrolled in the study. Three activity limitations identified from data distribution and literature were used as the cluster variables, included the difficulty level of maintaining a standing position, timed stair climbing and 40-m self-paced walk test. The analysis showed four phenotypes of individuals with knee OA according to the levels of disability from no to severe level of disability. All parameters of impairment and participation restrictions significantly differed among phenotypes. Subgroups with greater disability experienced worse pain intensity, limited range of motion (ROM), muscle power and participation restriction levels. The variance accounted for of the subgroups were also greater than overall participants.

Conclusion

The results of this study emphasized the heterogeneous natures of knee OA. Three activity limitations identified could classify the individuals with symptomatic knee OA to homogeneous subgroups from no to severe level of disability. The management plan, based on these homogeneous subgroups of knee OA, could be designated by considering the levels of impairments and participation restrictions.


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