BACKGROUND: Patellofemoral OA is a strong risk factor for progression to generalized whole knee OA, but it is unknown whether involvement of the patellofemoral joint in early radiographic OA (ROA) is associated with risk of undergoing future knee arthroplasty. This is clinically relevant because patellofemoral OA likely requires a different treatment approach than tibiofemoral OA, and identifying prognostic factors for future arthroplasty might assist clinicians with prioritizing and guiding early interventions that could improve long-term outcomes. Therefore, we evaluated association of baseline patellofemoral or tibiofemoral ROA with undergoing knee arthroplasty over 10 years.
METHODS: Using the multicenter Cohort Hip and Cohort Knee (CHECK) study, we acquired three views of radiographs in both knees of individuals aged 45-65 years with complaints of knee symptoms in at least one knee. From baseline radiographs, we categorized each knee as having one of four patterns of ROA: no ROA, isolated patellofemoral ROA, isolated tibiofemoral ROA, or combined ROA. We evaluated the 10-year relative hazard for undergoing going arthroplasty, based on baseline ROA pattern, using Cox proportional hazard models, adjusting for age, sex body mass index, and pain severity.
RESULT: Our sample (n = 842) included 671 (80%) women and had mean (SD) age 56 (5) years, and BMI 26.3 (4.0) kg/m 2. Arthroplasties were undertaken in 44/1678 knees. In comparison to having no ROA at baseline, adjusted hazard ratios (aHR) for arthroplasty were highest for combined ROA (aHR 14.2 [95% CI 5.8, 34.6]) and isolated patellofemoral ROA (aHR 12.7 [5.6, 29.0]). Isolated tibiofemoral ROA was not significantly associated with arthroplasty (aHR 2.9 [0.6, 13.6]).
CONCLUSIONS: In a sample of middle-aged individuals with complaints in one or both knees, the 10-year relative hazard for undergoing arthroplasty, compared to no ROA, was increased when OA involved the patellofemoral joint, regardless of whether it was isolated to the patellofemoral joint or occurred in combination with tibiofemoral OA. Further research is needed to confirm this association and to clarify the causal mechanism of this relationship. However, our results provide preliminary evidence that identifying patellofemoral ROA may be a clinically useful prognostic indicator in early knee OA.
The Dutch Arthritis Association (ReumaNederland) initiated and funded the parent CHECK cohort study, but played no role in the design, analysis, interpretation, or writing of the present study. Dr. Macri received funding support from a Canadian Institutes of Health Research Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship.
© 2022. The Author(s).