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Ann Rheum Dis. Dec 1998; 57(12): 717–723.
PMCID: PMC1752518

Prevalence of generalised osteoarthritis in patients with advanced hip and knee osteoarthritis: The Ulm Osteoarthritis Study


OBJECTIVES—Different prevalences of generalised osteoarthritis (GOA) in patients with knee and hip OA have been reported. The aim of this investigation was to evaluate radiographic and clinical patterns of disease in a hospital based population of patient subgroups with advanced hip and knee OA and to compare the prevalence of GOA in patients with hip or knee OA, taking potential confounding factors into account.
METHODS—420 patients with hip OA and 389 patients with knee OA scheduled for unilateral total joint replacement in four hospitals underwent radiographic analysis of ipsilateral and contralateral hip or knee joint and both hands in addition to a standardised interview and clinical examination. According to the severity of radiographic changes in the contralateral joints (using Kellgren-Lawrence [gt-or-equal, slanted] grade 2 as case definition) participants were classified as having either unilateral or bilateral OA. If radiographic changes of two joint groups of the hands (first carpometacarpal joint and proximal/distal interphalangeal joints defined as two separate joint groups) were present, patients were categorised as having GOA.
RESULTS—Patients with hip OA were younger (mean age 60.4 years) and less likely to be female (52.4%) than patients with knee OA (66.3 years and 72.5% respectively). Intensity of pain and functional impairment at hospital admission was similar in both groups, while patients with knee OA had a longer symptom duration (median 10 years) compared with patients with hip OA (5 years). In 41.7% of patients with hip OA and 33.4% of patients with knee OA an underlying pathological condition could be observed in the replaced joint, which allowed a classification as secondary OA. Some 82.1% of patients with hip and 87.4% of patients with knee OA had radiographic changes in their contralateral joints (bilateral disease). The prevalence of GOA increased with age and was higher in female patients. GOA was observed more often in patients with knee OA than in patients with hip OA (34.9% versus 19.3%; OR=2.24; 95% CI: 1.56, 3.21). Adjustment for the different age and sex distribution in both patient groups, however, takes away most of the difference (OR=1.32; 95% CI: 0.89, 1.96).
CONCLUSION—The crude results confirm previous reports as well as the clinical impression of GOA being more prevalent in patients with advanced knee OA than in patients with advanced hip OA. However, these different patterns might be attributed to a large part to a different distribution of age and sex in these hospital based populations.

Keywords: hip osteoarthritis; knee osteoarthritis; hand osteoarthritis; generalised osteoarthritis

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Selected References

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Figures and Tables

Figure 1
Age and sex specific prevalence of generalised OA (GOA) in patients with advanced hip and knee OA.
Figure 2
Age and sex standardised comparison of the prevalence of generalised OA, CMC OA, DIP or PIP OA, and bilateral hip or knee OA in patients with advanced hip and knee OA.

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