International Orthopaedics October 2006, Volume 30, Issue 5, pp 426–428

Ethnic differences in preoperative function of patients undergoing total knee arthroplasty

Joshy, S., Datta, A., Perera, A. et al.

The prevalence of osteoarthritis is high in all ethnic and demographic groups. The timing of surgery is important because poor preoperative functional status is related to poor postoperative function. The aim of our study was to compare the preoperative knee function in patients of Asian origin with that of Caucasians living in the same community. We carried out a prospective study of 63 consecutive Asian patients and 63 age- and gender-matched Caucasian patients undergoing total knee arthroplasty. Preoperative Knee Society Clinical Rating System scores were recorded as a separate knee score and knee function score. The mean preoperative knee score in Asian patients was 37.6 compared with 41.5 in Caucasians (p<0.12); this difference was not statistically significant. The mean preoperative knee function score in Asian patients was 32.5 compared with 45.0 in Caucasians (p<0.00015); this difference was highly statistically significant. We conclude that patients of Asian origin undergoing total knee arthroplasty have lower preoperative knee function than Caucasians do. Cultural beliefs and social support partially explain this discrepancy, but health care providers must attempt to educate patients and close family members about the importance of timing the surgery to obtain the optimum benefits of pain relief and function.

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