Research suggests that total joint replacement (TJR) may reduce risk for “cardiac events,” such as heart attack and stroke, boosting long-term survival. A news release from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) notes that the findings were recently presented at its 2014 Annual Meeting.

The study reflects a growing body of evidence that indicates a link between arthritis and increased mortality secondary to cardiovascular disease, says Bheeshma Ravi, MD, an orthopaedic surgeon, University of Toronto Medical Center, “and this risk is proportional to the degree of disability secondary to arthritis,” Ravi adds.

During the study, researchers reportedly reviewed medical data and outcomes of patients, aged 55 years and older, with hip and knee arthritis between 1996 and 1998. The researchers note that half of the patients received TJR and half did not.

The study’s results indicate that patients who received a hip or knee replacement were more than 40% less likely to have a serious cardiovascular event, including a heart attack, stroke, emergent coronary revascularization, or death resulting from any of the above. In the release, the researchers conclude that TJR offers a cardioprotective benefit in individuals with moderate-to-severe arthritis of the hip or knee, potentially resulting from the increased capability for moderate physical activity.

Ravi points out that moderate physical activity, in turn, has “direct benefits for hypertension, obesity, and diabetes, all of which are risk factors for cardiovascular disease, and all of which are highly prevalent in individuals with osteoarthritis.”

The release notes that the study, titled TJA Appears Cardioprotective in Patients with Moderate-Severe OA: A Propensity-Score Matched Landmark Analysis, appears in the October 30, 2013 British Medical Journal.

[Source: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons]