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JOURNAL ARTICLE

Towards UK poSt Arthroplasty Follow-up rEcommendations (UK SAFE): protocol for an evaluation of the requirements for arthroplasty follow-up, and the production of consensus-based recommendations

Carolyn J Czoski Murray, Sarah R Kingsbury, Nigel K Arden, Jenny Hewison, Andrew Judge, Jamie Matu, Jamie O'Shea, Rafael Pinedo-Villanueva, Lindsay K Smith, Chris Smith, Christine M Thomas, Robert M West, Judy M Wright, Philip G Conaghan, Martin H Stone
BMJ Open 2019 June 25, 9 (6): e031351
31243039

INTRODUCTION: Hip and knee arthroplasties have revolutionised the management of degenerative joint diseases and, due to an ageing population, are becoming increasingly common. Follow-up of joint prostheses is to identify problems in symptomatic or asymptomatic patients due to infection, osteolysis, bone loss or potential periprosthetic fracture, enabling timely intervention to prevent catastrophic failure at a later date. Early revision is usually more straight-forward surgically and less traumatic for the patient. However, routine long-term follow-up is costly and requires considerable clinical time. Therefore, some centres in the UK have curtailed this aspect of primary hip and knee arthroplasty services, doing so without an evidence base that such disinvestment is clinically or cost-effective.

METHODS: Given the timeline from joint replacement to revision, conducting a randomised controlled trial (RCT) to determine potential consequences of disinvestment in hip and knee arthroplasty follow-up is not feasible. Furthermore, the low revision rates of modern prostheses, less than 10% at 10 years, would necessitate thousands of patients to adequately power such a study. The huge variation in follow-up practice across the UK also limits the generalisability of an RCT. This study will therefore use a mixed-methods approach to examine the requirements for arthroplasty follow-up and produce evidence-based and consensus-based recommendations as to how, when and on whom follow-up should be conducted. Four interconnected work packages will be completed: (1) a systematic literature review; (2a) analysis of routinely collected National Health Service data from five national data sets to understand when and which patients present for revision surgery; (2b) prospective data regarding how patients currently present for revision surgery; (3) economic modelling to simulate long-term costs and quality-adjusted life years associated with different follow-up care models and (4) a Delphi-consensus process, involving all stakeholders, to develop a policy document which includes a stratification algorithm to determine appropriate follow-up care for an individual patient.

ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: Favourable ethical opinion has been obtained for WP2a (RO-HES) (220520) and WP2B (220316) from the National Research Ethics Committee. Following advice from the Confidentiality Advisory Group (17/CAG/0122), data controllers for the data sets used in WP2a (RO-HES) - NHS Digital and The Phoenix Partnership - confirmed that Section 251 support was not required as no identifiable data was flowing into or out of these parties. Application for approval of WP2a (RO-HES) from the Independent Group Advising on the Release of Data (IGARD) at NHS Digital is in progress (DARS-NIC-147997). Section 251 support (17/CAG/0030) and NHS Digital approval (DARS-NIC-172121-G0Z1H-v0.11) have been obtained for WP2a (NJR-HES-PROMS). ISAC (11_050MnA2R2) approval has been obtained for WP2a (CPRD-HES).

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