Physical Therapy Publications

Change in Patient Concerns Following Total Knee Arthroplasty Described with the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health: A Repeated Measures Design

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Background: There is no published evidence of how patient concerns change during the first six weeks following total knee arthroplasty (TKA). An understanding of the recovery process from the patient's perspective will inform clinicians on how to best educate patients about their postoperative concerns. Our objectives were to (1) quantify the level of importance for each of 32 previously identified concerns pre-operatively, and across the first six weeks following primary TKA and, (2) convey this change in importance post-operatively using the components of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF).

Methods: The objectives were achieved using a repeated measures design. Convenience sampling was used to recruit 54 consecutive patients undergoing primary TKA at a hospital in Ontario, Canada. Pre-operatively and at two, four and six weeks post-operatively subjects rated the level of importance for each of the 32 previously identified patient concerns

Results: The importance rating of patient concerns in all four ICF components changed from before surgery to two weeks after surgery. Patient concerns in the Participation component became increasingly important after the first two weeks following surgery. Post-operatively from week two to week four, changes in importance ratings were also found in the Body Function and Activity components, but not in the Environmental Factors component.

Conclusion: Changes in patient concerns mirror their early recovery from TKA surgery. Consistent with this, Participation restrictions become increasingly important to patients after discharge from acute care suggesting that clinicians should think of managing patient expectations for return to societal roles early in post-operative rehabilitation.


Published in: Health and Quality of Life Outcomes 2008, 6:112 (doi:10.1186/1477-7525-6-112). The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

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