Informed Consent in Patients Undergoing Primary Hip and Knee Arthroplasty: What Do Patients Want to Know?

Informed Consent in Patients Undergoing Primary Hip and Knee Arthroplasty: What Do Patients Want to Know?
Nemandra A Sandiford, Maalee Mahendra, Lilanthi Wickramarachchi, Diane Back, Mohit Bansal
Cureus, 5 June 2020; 12(6)
The consenting process has been surgeon-focused traditionally, but there is a recent trend towards making the process more patient and procedure-focused. The primary aims were to identify the risks considered most important and requiring further discussion by the patients undergoing primary total hip arthroplasty (THA) and primary total knee arthroplasty (TKA), as well as to identify the sporting and recreational activities these patients would like to pursue after surgery according to the age group, taking into consideration their values and expectations. The secondary aim is to assess the compliance of the current consenting process with guidelines set out by a governing body in a tertiary referral arthroplasty unit.
Material and method
A prospective study reviewing the consenting process was carried out on 137 patients undergoing THA or TKA over a 12-month period in a tertiary teaching hospital. Patients unable to complete a questionnaire and undergoing revision or uni-compartment arthroplasty were excluded. A standardized anonymous questionnaire was administered. Patients were asked to fill in the specific activities they considered important to be discussed. The data were tabulated in Microsoft Excel (Microsoft Corporation, Redmond, Washington) and subgroup analysis was performed using the student’s t-test. The level of statistical significance was p=0.05. Two-hundred consent forms were reviewed to assess whether the information entered correlated to the guidelines presented in Ortho-Consent.
One-hundred thirty-seven questionnaires were reviewed. The mean age was 66 (range 45-91), with the majority of patients undergoing TKA (114) versus THA (23). The patients in active employment were more concerned about blood clots, pain, joint failure, limb length discrepancy, and infection. Patients undergoing TKA wanted more information on pain management and joint longevity, which achieved statistical significance. There was a significant difference in the activities patients would like to pursue as well as in expectations amongst different age groups. The quality of documentation in the consent form was quite variable in discussing complications, surgery benefits, and alternative treatments.
Obtaining consent is a patient-specific process. Patient perception of important points that merit discussion can vary with age and employment status. Return to driving is important for all ages, however, as the population ages, the ability to return to activities of daily living becomes an increasingly important discussion point during the consent process.

Editor’s Note: the Cureus Journal of Medical Science is an open access general medical journal based in San Francisco, California.

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