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Background Joint replacement surgery has revolutionised the management of degenerative joint disease. Increasing demand for surgery and post-surgical reviews has overwhelmed orthopaedic services and, consequently, many centres have reduced or stopped follow-up. Such disinvestment is without an evidence base and raises questions regarding the consequences to patients. Objectives To produce evidence- and consensus-based recommendations as to how, when and on whom follow-up should be conducted. Our research question was ‘Is it safe to disinvest in mid- to late-term follow-up of hip and knee replacement?’. Methods The study comprised three complementary evidence synthesis work packages to inform a final consensus process. Work package 1 was a systematic review of the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness literature. Work package 2 used routine national data sets (i.e. the Clinical Practice Research Datalink–Hospital Episode Statistics, Hospital Episode Statistics–National Joint Registry–patient-reported outcome measures) to identify pre, peri and postoperative predictors of mid- to late-term revision, and prospective data from 560 patients to understand how patients present for revision surgery. Work package 3 used a Markov model to simulate the survival, health-related quality of life and NHS costs of patients following hip or knee replacement surgery. Finally, evidence from work packages 1–3 informed a face-to-face consensus panel, which involved 32 stakeholders. Results Our overarching statements are as follows: (1) these recommendations apply to post primary hip and knee replacement follow-up; (2) the 10-year time point in these recommendations is based on a lack of robust evidence beyond 10 years; and (3) in these recommendations, the term ‘complex cases’ refers to individual patient and surgical factors that may increase the risk of replacement failure. Our recommendations are as follows: for Orthopaedic Data Evaluation Panel 10A* (ODEP-10A*) minimum implants, it is safe to disinvest in routine follow-up from 1 to 10 years post non-complex hip and knee replacement provided that there is rapid access to orthopaedic review; (2) for ODEP-10A* minimum implants in complex cases or non-ODEP-10A* minimum implants, periodic follow-up post hip and knee replacement may be required from 1 to 10 years; (3) at 10 years post hip and knee replacement, clinical and radiographic evaluation is recommended; and (4) after 10 years post hip and knee replacement, frequency of further follow-up should be based on the 10-year assessment (note that ongoing rapid access to orthopaedic review is still required) [Stone M, Smith L, Kingsbury S, Czoski-Murray C, Judge A, Pinedo-Villanueva R, et al. Evidence-based follow-up recommendations following primary hip and knee arthroplasty (UK SAFE). Orthop Proc 2020;102–B:13.]. Limitations The current absence of data beyond 10 years restricted the evidence base. Conclusions For ODEP-10A* prostheses, the UK SAFE programme demonstrated that it is safe to disinvest in routine follow-up in the 1- to 10-year period after non-complex hip and knee replacement. At 10 years, clinical and radiographic review is recommended. Complex cases, implants not meeting the 10A* criteria and follow-up after revision surgery are not covered by this recommendation. Future work The evidence base for follow-up after 10 years requires further evaluation. Further work should establish the most clinically effective and cost-effective model of delivering a rapid access service and evaluate alternative models for follow-up services, such as virtual clinics. Finally, the needs and outcomes of patients who are symptomatic but do not have appropriate follow-up should be investigated. Study registration This study is registered as PROSPERO CRD42017053017. Funding This project was funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Health and Social Care Delivery Research programme and will be published in full in Health and Social Care Delivery Research; Vol. 10, No. 16. See the NIHR Journals Library website for further project information.

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Journal article


Health and Social Care Delivery Research


National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR)

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