Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research: November 2015 - Volume 473 - Issue 11 - p 3421–3430 doi: 10.1007/s11999-015-4255-4 Symposium: 2014 Meeting of International Society of Arthroplasty Register

Is a Revision a Revision? An Analysis of National Arthroplasty Registries’ Definitions of Revision

Liebs, Thoralf, R., MD, PhD1,a; Splietker, Farina1; Hassenpflug, Joachim, MD, PhD1

Background The reported survival of implants depends on the definition used for the endpoint, usually revision. When screening through registry reports from different countries, it appears that revision is defined quite differently.


Questions/purposes The purposes of this study were to compare the definitions of revision among registry reports and to apply common clinical scenarios to these definitions.


Methods We downloaded or requested reports of all available national joint registries. Of the 23 registries we identified, 13 had published reports that were available in English and were beyond the pilot phase. We searched these registries’ reports for the definitions of the endpoint, mostly revision. We then applied the following scenarios to the definition of revision and analyzed if those scenarios were regarded as a revision: (A) wound revision without any addition or removal of implant components (such as hematoma evacuation); (B) exchange of head and/or liner (like for infection); (C) isolated secondary patella resurfacing; and (D) secondary patella resurfacing with a routine liner exchange.


Results All registries looked separately at the characteristic of primary implantation without a revision and 11 of 13 registers reported on the characteristics of revisions. Regarding the definition of revision, there were considerable differences across the reports. In 11 of 13 reports, the primary outcome was revision of the implant. In one registry the primary endpoint was “reintervention/revision” while another registry reported separately on “failure” and “reoperations”. In three registries, the definition of the outcome was not provided, however in one report a results list gave an indication for the definition of the outcome. Wound revision without any addition or removal of implant components (scenario A) was considered a revision in three of nine reports that provided a clear definition on this question, whereas two others did not provide enough information to allow this determination. Exchange of the head and/or liner (like for infection; scenario B) was considered a revision in 11 of 11; isolated secondary patella resurfacing (scenario C) in six of eight; and secondary patella resurfacing with routine liner exchange (scenario D) was considered a revision in nine of nine reports.


Conclusions Revision, which is the most common main endpoint used by arthroplasty registries, is not universally defined. This implies that some reoperations that are considered a revision in one registry are not considered a revision in another registry. Therefore, comparisons of implant performance using data from different registries have to be performed with caution. We suggest that registries work to harmonize their definitions of revision to help facilitate comparisons of results across the world’s arthroplasty registries.

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