Radiographic Stage Does Not Correlate With Symptom Severity in Thumb Basilar Joint Osteoarthritis

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Background: We hypothesize that thumb basilar joint osteoarthritis (TBJA) radiographic stage does not correlate with patient-reported measures of symptom severity.

Methods: Patients with unilateral TBJA who completed the 11-item QuickDASH (Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand), Short-Form 12 Health Survey (SF-12) Mental Component and SF-12 Physical Component surveys were prospectively enrolled in the study. The Eaton-Littler radiographic stage was assigned for each patient. The correlation between the radiographic score and disease stage was calculated.

Results: Sixty-two patients (15 men, 47 women; average age, 62.3 years) formed the basis of this study. The average QuickDASH score (and standard deviation) for patients with stage 1 TBJA was 31.5 (11.4); for those with stage 2, it was 37.9 (17.4); with stage 3, it was 30.1 (13.0), and with stage 4, it was 39.4 (12.5). Eaton-Littler stage did not correlate significantly with QuickDASH scores (rho = −0.014, P = 0.91). Neither SF-12 Mental Component scores (MCS-12: rho = 0.019, P = 0.89) nor the SF-12 Physical Component scores (PCS-12: rho = 0.145, P = 0.26) correlated with TBJA stage.

Conclusion: Radiographic severity in TBJA does not correlate with validated patient-reported symptom scores. Metrics that link radiographic and subjective components of TBJA may improve surgical decision making and monitoring of treatment response.

Level of Evidence: Prognostic, level II

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