Age 100 No Bar to Hip Replacement

Other factors are more important when deciding on surgery, researchers say

FRIDAY, Aug. 3, 2007 (HealthDay News) -- Age alone should not rule out hip-replacement surgery in people over 100 years old, a new study suggests.

A team at the University of Pittsburgh noted that nearly one out of two centenarians are still living independently, but they are also at the highest risk of fractures due to osteoporosis. However, there have been very few studies of the effectiveness of joint replacement surgeries in people over 90 years old.

With hip-replacement numbers on the rise and an aging population, the researchers argue it is important to review the success of the surgery in older people.

An estimated 193,000 hip replacements are performed every year in the United States, primarily in people between 60 and 80 years old.

In the study, the Pittsburgh group analyzed data gathered between 1993 and 2002 from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project Nationwide Inpatient Sample, the largest hospital discharge data set in the world. Of the 57 million hospitalization records during this period, 41,335 were for centenarians. The researchers identified 679 total hip replacements and seven total knee replacements in patients aged 100 or older.

They found that people 100 or older who had hip replacements were at a higher risk of dying in the hospital than people in their 90s. However, the researchers also found that hip-replacement surgery was less risky for centenarians than many other surgeries.

Writing in the August edition of Arthritis Care & Research, the study authors theorized that doctors and their centenarian patients are often reluctant to risk a hip or knee surgery solely because of age. However, the study results indicate that the decision to perform the surgery should not rest on the question of age.

The authors noted that people who reach the century mark have avoided many of the chronic health problems that cause early death.

More information

To learn more about hip replacement, visit the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

SOURCE: Arthritis Care & Research, news release, July 30, 2007
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