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J Rheumatol. 1991 Jul;18(7):984-8.

Should methotrexate be discontinued before elective orthopedic surgery in patients with rheumatoid arthritis?

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Division of Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology, University of Alabama, Birmingham 35294.


To determine if methotrexate (MTX) contributes to early postoperative complications, we studied 38 patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who underwent elective orthopedic surgery. There were 4 complications of prosthetic joint infection or wound dehiscence or infection among 19 procedures performed on patients who continued MTX until less than 4 weeks before surgery, compared to no complications among 34 procedures performed on patients who discontinued MTX 4 weeks before surgery or who were taking no remittive agent for 3 months before surgery (p less than 0.03, Fisher's exact, 2-tailed). No demographic, clinical, laboratory, nutritional, or intraoperative differences between the 2 groups were apparent, suggesting that MTX may play a role in early postoperative complications in patients with RA. A larger, prospective trial to study this issue is warranted.

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