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Racial Disparity Persists in Total Knee Replacements

Blacks less likely to undergo total knee replacement, despite strategy to eliminate disparity

MONDAY, Feb. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Racial disparity between blacks and whites in total knee replacement procedures has persisted, despite adoption of a Healthy People 2010 objective to eliminate these disparities, according to a report published in the Feb. 20 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Miriam G. Cisternas, of MGC Data Services in Carlsbad, Calif., and colleagues analyzed state and national rates of total knee replacements for Medicare enrollees between 2000 and 2006. Only procedures in adults 65 years or older were included, as this was the target population in the Healthy People 2010 objective.

Although similar increases in total knee replacement procedures occurred between blacks and whites (56 percent and 61 percent, respectively), the rate of procedures was 39 percent lower in blacks than whites in 2006, the authors report. This disparity persisted from 2000, when the difference was 37 percent. In both years, racial disparity was more evident in females, and occurred in all 50 states. Neither sex nor age significantly impacted the procedure rates, the investigators found.

"A combined public health and clinical strategy to address racial disparity in total knee replacement might include wider distribution of information in various public settings and equipping health care providers with resources that enable them to have total knee replacement discussions that are thorough and tailored to the understanding, needs and concerns of their patients," the authors of an accompanying editorial write.

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