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Upsurge in U.S. Patients with Hip, Knee Replacements

Trend is expected to continue, leading to increased economic burden

FRIDAY, April 18 (HealthDay News) -- The number of primary knee and hip replacements performed in the United States is increasing at a steep rate, requiring that the health care community take steps to prepare for this demand and manage its economic burden, according to a report in the April 15 issue of Arthritis Care & Research.

Sunny Kim, Ph.D., of Florida International University in Miami, analyzed data from the Nationwide Inpatient Survey from 1997 to 2004, to characterize trends in hip and knee replacements in the United States and its associated economic burden.

Between 2000 and 2004, the number of primary hip and knee replacements performed increased by 37 percent and 53 percent, respectively. The increase was particularly marked in individuals aged 45 to 64. The major source of payment came from Medicare (55.4 for hip replacements, 59.3 percent for knee replacements), but private insurance companies experienced a steeper increase in expenditure. The author projects that 600,000 hip and 1.4 million knee replacements will be performed in the year 2015, more than double the number performed in 2004.

These results "demonstrate that the burden resulting from hip/knee joint replacement is not only substantial but also increasing at an alarmingly steep rate. Public health education is critically important to reduce the proportion of people who are overweight/obese as well as to manage arthritis at earlier stages," the author concludes.

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