Black patients get fewer double knee replacements, face no disparity in complications, study finds


A study by Hospital for Special Surgery researchers looked at racial disparities in double knee replacements between Black and white patients, according to a Nov. 9 press release.

Disparities in single knee replacement surgeries have been documented, with lower utilization and higher complication rates among Black patients, the release said. The researchers at New York City-based Hospital for Special Surgery looked to see what disparities existed for same-day double knee replacements.

The study focused on data between 2007 and 2016, and researchers looked for trends in utilization and major in-hospital complication rates in patients 50 and older, the press release said. Black patients were less likely to undergo a double knee replacement than white patients, but there was no significant difference in complication rates.

Dr. Bella Mehta, a rheumatologist at HSS, said more vigorous patient selection for double knee replacements could explain the findings, the release said. She also said she thinks physicians may be offering the procedure to Black patients less, or they aren't choosing to have it.

"As we seek to achieve health equity for our patients, we must understand the challenges they face in accessing care, as well as variance in their outcomes," Michael Parks, MD, hip and knee surgeon at HSS and study author, said in a statement. "Our ultimate goal is to provide the same quality of care to everyone."

Dr. Mehta presented the findings Nov. 9 at the virtual American College of Rheumatology annual meeting.

Read the press release here and access the study here.


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