Severity of Diabetes Mellitus and Total Hip or Knee Replacement: A Population-Based Case–Control Study

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It is generally thought that people with diabetes mellitus (DM) are more likely to suffer from osteoarthritis (OA) due to an increased body mass index (BMI), resulting in mechanical destruction of cartilage. However, previous studies have suggested a coexisting metabolic causality.

To evaluate the risk of hip or knee replacement, as a proxy for severe OA, in patients with DM. We additionally evaluated the risk of total joint replacement (TJR) with various proxies for increased DM severity.

A population-based case–control study was performed, using the Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD). Cases (n = 94,609) were defined as patients >18 years who had undergone TJR between 2000 and 2012. Controls were matched by age, gender, and general practice. Conditional logistic regression was used to estimate the risk of total knee (TKR) and total hip replacement (THR) surgery associated with use of antidiabetic drugs (ADs). We additionally stratified current AD users by proxies for DM severity.

Current AD use was significantly associated with a lower risk of TKR (OR = 0.86 (95% CI = 0.78–0.94)) and THR (OR = 0.90 (95% CI = 0.82–0.99)) compared to patients not using ADs. Moreover, risk of TKR and THR was decreased with increasing HbA1c.

This study does not support the theory that DM patients are more likely to suffer from severe OA as compared to patients without diabetes. Moreover, risk of severe OA necessitating TJR decreases with increasing DM severity. This is possibly due to dissimilarities in methodology, a decrease in eligibility for surgery, or variability of OA phenotypes.

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