Evaluating waiting time effect on health outcomes at admission: a prospective randomized study on patients with osteoarthritis of the knee joint


Johanna Hirvonen
National Research and Development Centre for Welfare and Health
PO Box 220
Fin-00531 Helsinki
E-mail: johanna.hirvonen@stakes.fi


Aims  To evaluate the effect of waiting on health-related quality of life (HRQoL), pain and physical function in patients awaiting primary total knee replacement (TKR) due to osteoarthritis.

Methods  Some 438 patients awaiting TKR were randomized to a short waiting time (WT) group (≤3 months) or a non-fixed WT group. In the final assessment, 310 patients (213 women) with a mean age of 68 years were included. HRQoL was measured on being placed on the waiting list and again at hospital admission using the generic 15D. Patients’ self-report pain and physical function were evaluated using a scale modified from the Knee Society Clinical Rating System.

Results  The median WTs for patients with short and non-fixed WT were 73 days (range 8–600 days) and 266 days (range 28–818 days), respectively. At admission, as assessed by the intention-to-treat analysis, there were no statistically significant differences between the groups in the 15D total score and disease-specific pain and function.

Conclusions  Our study showed that longer WT did not result in worse pre-operative HRQoL.