Osteoarthritis linked to excess mortality

June 26, 2011

Patients with hip or knee osteoarthritis (OA) have a higher risk for death than the general population. In a population-based cohort study, Swiss investigators assessed all-cause and disease-specific mortality in 1,163 patients 35 years or older who had symptomatic, radiologically confirmed hip or knee OA. After median follow-up of 14 years, all-cause mortality was 55% greater in patients with OA compared with the general population.

Patients with hip or knee osteoarthritis (OA) have a higher risk for death than the general population. In a population-based cohort study, Swiss investigators assessed all-cause and disease-specific mortality in 1,163 patients 35 years or older who had symptomatic, radiologically confirmed hip or knee OA. After median follow-up of 14 years, all-cause mortality was 55% greater in patients with OA compared with the general population. Cardiovascular-associated mortality was 71% greater and dementia-associated mortality was 99% greater in OA patients compared with the general population. Baseline characteristics of OA patients that were independently associated with excess all-cause mortality were advanced age, male sex, diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and walking disability. Lower levels of physical activity, smoldering inflammation, and the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (which impart higher cardiovascular risk) might explain the increase in mortality risk, according to the investigators.