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NIHR Signal Partial knee replacements have some short-term advantages compared to total knee replacements
Replacing one side of the knee, unicompartmental knee replacement, may result in shorter hospital stays, fewer short-term complications, faster recovery and better knee function than total knee replacements. However, about 8% need revision by five years - about two to three times the rate with total knee replacements. People with pain and immobility from osteoarthritis that cannot be controlled by other treatments may be referred for knee surgery. If the damage is only to one side of the knee, ...
NIHR Signal Better care of deteriorating patients has reduced US mortality after surgery
Improved management of deteriorating patients with surgical complications has reduced the number of deaths in US hospitals rather than it being due to fewer complications. Over the past 10 years, complication rates have remained fairly similar. It is the reduction in 'failure to rescue'that has made the main difference in mortality. It is unclear if this is because of earlier detection of patients who are deteriorating due to complications, or improved response and treatment. This large...
NIHR Signal Intravenous magnesium can reduce shivering in patients after surgery
An infusion of magnesium, given during or immediately after surgery, reduces the proportion of patients who experience shivering in the operating theatre or in recovery from 23% to 9.9%. Shivering is unpleasant for the patient and may place strain on the cardiovascular system, as it increases oxygen use. A review of 64 trials found that intravenous magnesium was effective compared to placebo without any reported adverse effects. In the UK, frequent temperature checks and active warming are rou...
NIHR Signal Switching to oral antibiotics early for bone and joint infections gave similar results to continuing intravenous therapy
For adults with bone or joint infection, many of whom had metal implants, beginning six weeks of oral antibiotics within seven days of intravenous treatment, was no worse than a regimen delivered wholly intravenously (IV). After one year, around 14% of both groups still had an infection, showing the difficulty of treatment, irrespective of the route of administration. Although current practice suggests antibiotics should be given IV for bone and joint infections, for at least six weeks, this la...
NIHR Signal Keyhole surgery may be better than physiotherapy for hip impingement
Adults with painful restriction of movement of their hip had greater improvements in their symptoms after arthroscopy (keyhole surgery) than those who had physiotherapy. This NIHR-funded study included 222 people with hip pain and limited movement due to femoro-acetabular (hip) impingement but without a diagnosis of osteoarthritis. Their average age was 36 years. Half of the people who had surgery had significant benefit compared with a third of those having physiotherapy. NICE has recommended...
NIHR Signal Torn Achilles tendons have similar outcomes if treated with or without surgery
Outcomes for ruptured Achilles tendons appear similar irrespective of the choice of intervention. This systematic review and meta-analysis found that while the risk of re-rupture with corrective surgery was small at 2.3%, with conservative management (immobilisation in a cast), the rate was only 3.9%. The complication rate at 4.9% was three times higher in those who had surgery. Nearly all of the included studies were observational in this review, and no information was provided on the severit...
NIHR Signal Prolonging anticoagulant treatment after abdominal cancer surgery reduces clot risk
People who have low molecular weight heparin (LMWH) for between two to four weeks after abdominal or pelvic surgery, especially for cancer, have fewer blood clots in their large veins or lungs. In this review of seven trials, five per cent of people receiving extended treatment experienced a clot compared with 13% who received LMWH only while in hospital. There was no difference in bleeding complications. The optimal duration of treatment following abdominal surgery is uncertain, balancing blee...
NIHR Signal Antibiotics may be an alternative first-line treatment for uncomplicated appendicitis
Appendicectomy surgery could potentially be avoided for around 60% of adults with uncomplicated appendicitis if they receive antibiotics first. Adults in Finland with appendicitis were randomised to have appendicectomy or a course of antibiotics. In 6 out of 10 the appendicitis settled and did not return over the five years they were followed. Of those who did go on to need surgery most did so in the first year. If the findings from the study could be applied to the UK, it is estimated that up...
NIHR Signal Complications following hip or knee surgery are more likely for people with long-term illness, but benefits are still worthwhile
People with long-term illness are just as likely to benefit from knee or hip surgery as those without. However, they are more likely to have complications following surgery and to be readmitted within three months. This study reviewed data from 70 studies to determine the chance of short-term harms and long-term benefits linked to 11 different co-existing health conditions (such as diabetes and cancer) following hip and knee replacement. Short-term outcomes included surgical complications, infe...
NIHR Signal Partial knee replacements may save costs compared with total knee replacements
Partial knee replacements, when performed by experienced surgeons, can save costs and improve quality of life compared with total knee replacements. Partial replacements for selected patients improve quality of life and savebetween £600 and £2,000 over the patient’s lifetime, depending on age and gender. Knee replacements are commonly performed for people with ongoing pain and poor function. If the damage is limited to one side of the knee, it may be suitable to replace just t...
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