Racial disparities in receipt of hip and knee joint replacements are not explained by need: the Health and Retirement Study 1998-2004.

TitleRacial disparities in receipt of hip and knee joint replacements are not explained by need: the Health and Retirement Study 1998-2004.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsSteel, N, Clark, A, Lang, IA, Wallace, RB, Melzer, D
JournalJ Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci
Date Published2008 Jun
ISSN Number1079-5006
Call Numbernewpubs20080822_Steeletal
KeywordsAged, Arthroplasty, Replacement, Hip, Arthroplasty, Replacement, Knee, Black or African American, Educational Status, Female, Health Services Needs and Demand, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, United States

BACKGROUND: Hip and knee joint replacement rates vary by demographic group. This article describes the epidemiology of need for joint replacement, and of subsequent receipt of a joint replacement by those in need.

METHODS: Data from the Health and Retirement Study were used to assess need for hip or knee joint replacement in a total of 14,807 adults aged 60 years or older in 1998, 2000, and 2002 and receipt of needed surgery 2 years later. "Need" classification was based on difficulty walking, joint pain, stiffness, or swelling and receipt of treatment for arthritis, without contraindications to surgery.

RESULTS: Need in 2002 was greater in participants who were older than 74 years (vs 60-64: adjusted odds ratio 2.06; 95% confidence interval, 1.68-2.53), women (vs men: 1.81; 1.53-2.14), less educated (vs college educated: 1.27; 1.06-1.52), in the poorest third (vs richest: 2.20; 1.78-2.72), or obese (vs nonobese: 2.39; 2.02-2.81). One hundred sixty-eight participants in need received a joint replacement, with lower receipt in black or African American participants (vs white: 0.47; 0.26-0.83) or less educated (vs college educated: 0.65; 0.44-0.96). These differences were not explained by current employment, access to medical care, family responsibilities, disability, living alone, comorbidity, or exclusion of those younger than Medicare eligibility age.

CONCLUSIONS: After taking variations in need into consideration, being black or African American or lacking a college education appears to be a barrier to receiving surgery, whereas age, sex, relative poverty, and obesity do not. These disparities maintain disproportionately high levels of pain and disability in disadvantaged groups.

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Alternate JournalJ Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci
Citation Key7243
PubMed ID18559639
Grant ListU01AG009740 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States