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Senior Health Week: Arthritis
Health News You Can Use •

Arthritis News:

Optimism Produces More Pain Relief for Arthritis Sufferers

Arthritis sufferers who are optimistic about pending hip or knee surgery are going to experience better pain relief than patients who have low expectations, according to researchers at the University Health Network in Toronto, Canada.

Researchers evaluated the relationship between patient expectations of total joint arthroplasty and their satisfaction with the results six months after the procedure. Arthroplasty is joint surgery in which both joint surfaces are replaced with artificial materials, usually metal and high-density plastic.

The study included 102 patients undergoing total hip arthroplasty and 89 undergoing total knee arthroplasty. The average age of the patients was 66 years. The patients were evaluated using questionnaires given before surgery and six months afterwards.

All of the patients in the study achieved significant improvements in their condition following surgery. Patient expectations regarding their surgery were not linked with their age, gender, joint being operated on, marital status or race. Expectations were not linked to the patient's health status before surgery.

The expectation of complete pain relief after surgery was an independent predictor of better physical function and pain improvement at six months after surgery. The expectation of low risk of complications from total joint arthroplasty was an independent predictor of greater patient satisfaction, according to the study published in the Journal of Rheumatology.

"Patient expectations were important independent predictors of improved functional outcomes and satisfaction following total joint arthroplasty," concluded the researchers. "Greater understanding of the relationship between expectations and outcomes may improve the process of care and outcomes of total joint arthroplasty."

Source: Arthritis Week of July 14, 2002



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