Undergoing hip replacement surgery could not only improve quality of life, it could also extend it, suggest researchers, who note that the surgery may be associated with increased life expectancy compared to people of similar age and sex.

“Our study suggests that hip replacement can add years to life as well as adding ‘life to years’—increasing the chances of longer survival as well as improving the quality of life,” states Peter Cnudde, MD, of the Swedish Hip Arthroplasty Register, Gothenburg, Sweden, in a study published recently in Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research, a publication of The Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons published by Wolters Kluwer.

Cnuddle and his research team analyzed postoperative survival rate in nearly 132,000 patients undergoing THA in Sweden from 1999 through 2012. Average age at hip replacement was about 68 years. During a median follow-up of 5.6 years, about 16.5% of patients died.

Survival after THA was longer than expected, compared to people of similar age and sex in the Swedish general population. In the first year, survival was 1% better in THA patients versus the matched population, explains a media release from Wolters Kluwer Health.

The difference increased to 3% at 5 years, then decreased to 2% at 10 years. By 12 years, survival was no longer different for THA patients compared to the general population.

The survival difference was significant mainly among patients diagnosed with primary osteoarthritis. This condition, reflecting age-related “wear and tear,” accounted for 91% of patients undergoing THA. In patients with certain other diagnoses—including osteonecrosis, inflammatory arthritis, and “secondary” osteoarthritis due to other health conditions or risk factors—survival after THA was lower compared to the general population.

Not surprisingly, patients with more accompanying medical conditions (comorbidity) had lower survival after THA. Lower education and single marital status were also associated with lower survival, the release continues.

The reasons for the increase in relative survival are unknown but are probably multifactorial,” the researchers write. They note some important limitations of their registry study, including the fact that that only patients in relatively good health are selected for THA.

“While no surgeon would recommend THA to the patients just to live longer, but it is likely that the chances of surviving longer are associated with undergoing the successful operation, for patients in need of a hip replacement,” Cnudde adds, in the release. He notes that this could be proven only by a randomized controlled trial—which would be impossible to perform for ethical reasons. “So data gathered by registers as part of a well-conducted observational study can provide these answers, in our opinion.”

[Source(s): Wolters Kluwer Health, Science Daily]