The Journal of Arthroplasty, Volume 32, Issue 7, 2093 - 2099.e1

What Do Patients Expect From Total Knee Arthroplasty? A Delphi Consensus Study on Patient Treatment Goals

Lange, Toni et al.


Although total knee arthroplasty (TKA) is among the most frequent orthopedic procedures for end-stage knee osteoarthritis (OA), systematically developed patient treatment goals for this elective intervention are missing. This constitutes a relevant barrier toward patient-centered healthcare.


A Delphi consensus study was conducted. Patients who were candidates for TKA were recruited through 11 outpatient orthopedic surgeons, 4 physiotherapists, and a patient organization in Germany. The initial questionnaire included 20 potential treatment goals derived from a systematic review on outcomes assessed in TKA trials. Patients were asked to rate these potential treatment goals as “main goal,” “secondary goal,” or “no goal.” It was specified that a main goal must be met to consider TKA as successful. Patients could add further goals which were included in the next questionnaire together with a feedback on their own and the group’s previous rating. Patients could then confirm or revise their responses to find group consensus, which was defined as ≥70% of participants rating a treatment goal as main goal.


From initial 108 participants, 93 (86%) completed the study. Consensus was achieved that symptom reduction (“pain reduction,” “improvement of stability”), functional improvements (improvement of “physical function,” “range of motion,” “walking distance,” “walking stairs,” “physical activity”), “improvement of quality of life,” and prevention and safety concerns (“prevention from secondary impairments,” “long implant survival”) are the main treatment goals of patients who are candidates for TKA.


Physicians should consider patient treatment goals in routine clinical decision making to meet the requirements of patient-centered healthcare. Researchers should consider those treatment goals in effectiveness studies on TKA.

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