Baseline Predictors of Health-Related Quality
of Life After Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction

Dunn WR, Wolf BR,
Harrell FE, Reinke EK, Huston LJ, and Spinder KP. J Bone Joint Surg.
2015. [Epub Ahead of Print].

Home Message: Smoking and fewer years of education are predictive of poor
mental and physical health
2 or 6 years after an anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction. Higher
activity levels, younger age, better quality of life before surgery, and lower body
mass index at the time of injury, were all associated with higher quality of
life scores at 2 or 6 years post-surgery.

Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury is common among physically
active individuals and can often lead to long-term disability. Currently, only
limited information concerning predictive factors of quality of life following an
ACL reconstruction exists. If we knew predictors of quality of life after an
ACL reconstruction this could help us advise patients, improve surgeon
decision-making, and identify factors that we could target when treating an ACL
injury. Therefore, Dunn and colleagues completed
a prospective cohort study to
determine the predictors of quality of life at 2 and 6 years post-ACL
reconstruction. The authors used data from 1,411 patients who underwent a
unilateral ACL reconstruction between 2002 and 2004 at 1 of the 6
Multicenter Orthopedic Outcome Network (MOON) Knee Group sites. All patients completed the Short Form-36 (SF-36), which is a
measure of general health (quality of life), before surgery, 2 years
post-surgery, and 6 years post-surgery. The SF-36 provides a mental component
summary score and physical component summary score. Surgeons completed an
extensive survey to document intra-articular pathologies, treatments, and
surgical techniques. Patients followed a standardized rehabilitation protocol. Better
physical health at 2 or 6 years after surgery was related to better physical health
at baseline, younger age, lower baseline body mass index, and having either
>50% of the lateral meniscus excised or no lateral meniscus treatment. Better
mental health at 2 or 6 years after surgery was related to better mental health
at baseline and higher activity rating scale score. A history of being a smoker
and fewer number of years of education were factors for both poor mental and
physical health.

The data presented in this study offers insight into the factors
associated with quality of life following an ACL reconstruction. Overall, the
data suggests that those who are younger, highly physically active at the time
of injury, and have better baseline mental and physical health should have the
highest quality of life following surgery. More important for future research
though is how can those patients with predictors of lower quality of life
scores, be treated to improve their overall quality of life? For example, if a
patient reports being a smoker, would more clinician-patient interaction
mitigate the effects that smoking has and help improve their overall quality of
life during the follow-up period? Furthermore, this study may suggest that we
should strive to promote mental and physical health prior to surgery. Until
more data and interventions can be studied, clinicians should be aware of these
factors. Clinicians who identify patients with factors associated with lower
quality of life after surgery should monitor the patient more closely, and may
even wish to coordinate with other members of their sports medicine team to
limit the negative effects the injury may have on their quality of life.

Questions for Discussion:
How do you maintain or improve an athlete’s quality of life following injury? Are there other factors which may influence
this quality of life that you have experienced in your clinical practice?

Written by: Kyle Harris
Reviewed by:  Jeffrey Driban

Related Posts:

Dunn WR, Wolf BR, Harrell FE Jr, Reinke EK, Huston LJ, MOON Knee Group, & Spindler KP (2015). Baseline predictors of health-related quality of life after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction: a longitudinal analysis of a multicenter cohort at two and six years. The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. American Volume, 97 (7), 551-7 PMID: 25834079