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The effects of advanced age on primary total knee arthroplasty: a meta-analysis and systematic review.

Kuperman EF, Schweizer M, Joy P, Gu X, Fang MM. The effects of advanced age on primary total knee arthroplasty: a meta-analysis and systematic review. BMC geriatrics. 2016 Feb 10; 16(1):41.

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BACKGROUND: Total knee arthroplasty is an effective treatment when nonsurgical treatments fail, but it is associated with risk of complications which may be increased in advanced age. The purpose of this study was to quantify age-related differences in perioperative morbidity and mortality after total knee arthroplasty through systematic review of existing literature. METHODS: PubMed, the Cochrane database of systematic reviews, Scopus, and, were queried for relevant studies that compared primary total knee arthroplasty outcomes of mortality, myocardial infarction (MI), deep vein thrombosis (DVT), pulmonary embolism (PE) and functional status, of geriatric patients ( > 75 years old) with a younger control group ( < 65 years old). Pertinent journals and reference lists were hand searched. Eligibility criteria included all articles except case reports, meta-analyses, and systematic reviews. Two authors independently extracted data from each paper. Article quality was assessed using the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale. RESULTS: Twenty-two studies were included. Geriatric patients had higher rates of mortality, MI, DVT, and length of stay in older compared to younger patients, however the absolute magnitude of these increases were small. The increase in mortality may have reflected decreased life expectancy in the geriatric populations as opposed to mortality specifically due perioperative risk. There were no differences in PE incidence and improvement in pain and functional status was equal in older and younger patients. Existing studies were limited by non-randomized patient selection, as well as variation in definitions and methodology. CONCLUSIONS: Existing data supports offering primary total knee arthroplasty to select geriatric patients, although the risk of complications may be increased. Much of the data was of poor quality. Future prospective studies are needed to better identify risks and benefits of total knee arthroplasty so that patients and surgeons can make informed decisions.

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