Study: TKR improves long-term quality of life for patients with juvenile idiopathic arthritis

Orthopedics Today—April 2, 2013

Researchers from Hospital for Special Surgery have found that total knee replacement improved the long-term quality of life for patients with juvenile idiopathic arthritis, but noted survivorship of the implants were lower than in elderly osteoarthritic patients.

“The surgery in this patient population, although performed by only a small number of highly specialized orthopedic surgeons nationwide, is life-changing for [juvenile idiopathic arthritis] JIA patients,” Mark P. Figgie, MD, senior author and chief of the Surgical Arthritis Service at Hospital for Special Surgery, stated in a press release. “Joint replacement can free patients – many of them adolescents – from a life of unrelenting pain.”

Dr. Figgie and colleagues examined Kaplan-Meier survivorship of 294 total knee replacements (TKRs) that were performed between 1979 and 2011 at five hospitals.

Regarding function, 49% of patients were able to walk an unlimited distance, 22% of patients were able to walk between 5 blocks to 10 blocks and 27% were able to walk less than 5 blocks. When climbing stairs, 59% of patients had to hold onto the railing, while 11% of patients could not climb stairs. Additionally, 11.7% of patients used a cane, 11.7% of patients required a wheelchair and 6.7% of patients required crutches, according to the abstract.


Heyse TJ. Poster #184. Presented at: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Annual Meeting; March 19-23, 2013; Chicago.

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