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Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2012 Jun;20(6):525-31. doi: 10.1016/j.joca.2012.03.003. Epub 2012 Mar 16.

Prevalence and predictors of health care use in patients with early hip or knee osteoarthritis: two-year follow-up data from the CHECK cohort.

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Department of Rheumatology, Sint Maartenskliniek, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.



To describe health care utilization (HCU) and predict analgesic use and health professional (HP) contact at baseline and 2 years in individuals with early symptomatic hip and/or knee osteoarthritis (OA).


Baseline and two-year data on HCU of the 1002 participants from the multi-centre Cohort Hip & Cohort Knee study were used. Six forms of health care services were described: analgesic use, supplement use, contact with a General Practitioner (GP), contact with a HP, contact in secondary care, and alternative medicine use. Multivariable logistic regression was performed in order to identify predisposing, enabling and disease-related variables that predict analgesic use and HP contact at 2 years; treatment modalities of first choice in early OA.


For the hip (n=170), the knee (n=414) and the hip and knee (n=418) group analgesic use (38%, 29% and 47%, respectively), contact with a GP (32%, 38% and 36%, respectively) and contact with a HP (26%, 18% and 20%, respectively), were reported most often at baseline. Contact with a GP significantly decreased, supplement use increased (to about one third), and other treatment modalities remained stable at 2 years. In all three groups, analgesic use at baseline was the strongest predictor for analgesic use at 2 years, whereas contact with a HP at baseline was the strongest predictor of contact with a HP after 2 years. Belonging to a first generation minority was a predisposing risk factor [Odds Ratio (95%-CI), 8.72 (1.55-48.97)] for analgesic use in the hip and knee group.


In early OA, familiarity with HCU and other predisposing factors are, apart from disease-related factors strongly associated with HCU at 2 years. Further research is necessary to examine whether our findings reflect sub-optimal management of early OA in terms of efficacy and equity.

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