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Keywords:

  • osteoarthritis;
  • gender;
  • arthroplasty;
  • Veterans Administration

OBJECTIVE: Osteoarthritis (OA) is a leading cause of disability and is more prevalent in women than men. Total joint arthroplasty is an effective treatment option for end-stage OA. We examined gender differences in utilization rates of total knee/hip arthroplasty in the Veterans Administration (VA) system.

METHODS: The sample consisted of all VA patients for fiscal year (FY) 1999, 50 years of age or older, with or without the diagnosis of OA in any joint. We calculated the odds of patients undergoing total knee/hip arthroplasty adjusting for age, comorbidities, and presence of OA. We included the hospital site as a random effects variable to adjust for clustering.

RESULTS: Of the 1,968,093 (2.3% women) VA patients in FY 1999 who were 50 years of age or older, 329,461 (2.9% women) patients carried a diagnosis of OA. For women, 2-year adjusted odds of undergoing total knee or hip arthroplasty were 0.97 (0.83 to 1.14) and 1.00 (0.79 to 1.27), respectively.

CONCLUSION: Among patients potentially at risk for the procedure, men and women in the VA system were equally likely to undergo knee/hip arthroplasty.