Lack of Demographic Information in Total Hip Arthroplasty/Total Knee Arthroplasty Randomized Controlled Trial Publications

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Journal of Arthroplasty


Background: The impact of social determinants of health (SDOH) has been documented in orthopaedic literature. However, there is a lack of data on the inclusion of these variables in orthopaedic studies. Our aim was to investigate how many total hip arthroplasties and total knee arthroplasties randomized controlled trials report SDOH variables such as race, ethnicity, insurance, income, and education within the manuscript. Methods: A systematic review was conducted on a PubMed search for randomized controlled trials published from 2017 to 2019 in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Journal of Arthroplasty, Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research, and Osteoarthritis and Cartilage. Data collected included publication year, type of surgery, and the inclusion of race, ethnicity, insurance, income, and education. Results: Of the 72 manuscripts included in the study, 5.6% of the manuscripts mentioned race, 4.2% included race within the demographic table, and 1.4% included ethnicity in the demographic table. Overall, only 5 studies discussed any one of the variables studied and none included any SDOH variables in their multivariable regressions. There were no statistically significant differences on inclusion across journal year (P value = .78), journal name (P value = 1.00), or surgery type (P value = .555). Conclusion: Our findings identify a major shortcoming in the inclusion of SDOH variables in total knee arthroplasty/total hip arthroplasty publications. Their exclusion may be indirectly perpetuating disparities if research that does not use representative patient samples is used in creating health policies and national standards. Level of Evidence: Level V.

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