Comparison of group-based outpatient physiotherapy with usual care after total knee replacement: a feasibility study for a randomized controlled trial

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Abstract

Objective:

To evaluate the feasibility of conducting a randomized controlled trial comparing group-based outpatient physiotherapy with usual care in patients following total knee replacement.

Design:

A feasibility study for a randomized controlled trial.

Setting:

One secondary-care hospital orthopaedic centre, Bristol, UK.

Participants:

A total of 46 participants undergoing primary total knee replacement.

Interventions:

The intervention group were offered six group-based exercise sessions after surgery. The usual care group received standard postoperative care. Participants were not blinded to group allocation.

Outcome measures:

Feasibility was assessed by recruitment, reasons for non-participation, attendance, and completion rates of study questionnaires that included the Lower Extremity Functional Scale and Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score.

Results:

Recruitment rate was 37%. Five patients withdrew or were no longer eligible to participate. Intervention attendance was high (73%) and 84% of group participants reported they were ‘very satisfied’ with the exercises. Return of study questionnaires at six months was lower in the usual care (75%) than in the intervention group (100%). Mean (standard deviation) Lower Extremity Functional Scale scores at six months were 45.0 (20.8) in the usual care and 57.8 (15.2) in the intervention groups.

Conclusion:

Recruitment and retention of participants in this feasibility study was good. Group-based physiotherapy was acceptable to participants. Questionnaire return rates were lower in the usual care group, but might be enhanced by telephone follow-up. The Lower Extremity Functional Scale had high responsiveness and completion rates. Using this outcome measure, 256 participants would be required in a full-scale randomized controlled trial.

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