Blacks Less Likely Than Whites To Undergo Total Knee Replacement Surgery
"Racial Disparities in Total Knee Replacement Among Medicare Enrollees -- United States, 2000-2006," Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report: The report examines progress in reducing the disparities between black and white patients for treatment of symptomatic knee osteoarthritis, a disabling condition for which both groups have equal risk. Total knee replacement is an effective method of reducing pain and improving physical function among those with the condition; however, black patients are less likely than white patients to undergo the procedure. The Healthy People 2010 objective calls for eliminating such disparities among those ages 65 and younger. CDC from 2000 to 2006 analyzed national and state total knee replacement rates for Medicare beneficiaries based on age, sex and race, and found that the overall rate increased by 58%, from 5.5 to 8.7 total knee replacements per 1,000 people. Rates for blacks and whites increased by about the same amount as the overall rate, but the rate for blacks was 37% lower than the rate for whites in 2000 at 3.6 per 1,000 people, compared with 5.7 for whites, and 39% lower in 2006 at 5.6 for blacks, compared with 9.2 for whites. According to the report, health care providers could likely reduce this disparity by providing informational material that is educationally and culturally tailored to blacks (Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 2/20).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.