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Return Visits Unlikely in Joint Replacement Patients

Study suggests that one-time verbal instructions are not sufficient to ensure patient compliance

MONDAY, Sept. 8 (HealthDay News) -- In patients who undergo total joint arthroplasty, compliance with recommendations to return for periodic clinical and radiographic evaluation is poor, researchers report in the September issue of the Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.

John C. Clohisy, M.D., of the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and colleagues studied 776 patients who underwent 505 total hip arthroplasties (372 primary and 133 revision procedures) and 271 total knee arthroplasties (195 primary and 76 revision procedures) who received one-time verbal instructions by the treating surgeon at the three-month postoperative visit to return for a one-year follow-up, and instructions at the one-year follow-up to again return a year later.

Overall, the researchers found that patient compliance with clinical follow-up was 61 percent at one year and 36 percent at two years. For total hip arthroplasty, they found that positive predictors of compliance at two years were revision hip procedure, younger patient age and a higher preoperative Harris hip score for gait. For total knee arthroplasty, they found that the only positive predictor for compliance at two years was non-white race.

"These data indicate that this method (one-time verbal instruction) is insufficient to ensure compliance for follow-up after total joint arthroplasty," the authors conclude.

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