The impact of the context of a person’s life on recovery from surgical interventions is not well understood. This study evaluated if people’s social, environmental and biomedical context was associated with change in frequency in engagement in life activities after total knee replacement (TKR).
418 people aged 30+ years who had TKR were followed presurgery to 1 year postsurgery. The outcome was change in frequency in engagement in life activities measured by the Late Life Disability Index (LLDI). Predictor variables of interest evaluated in multivariable linear regression analysis were positive and negative life events (Life Experiences Survey), development of a new comorbidity, another joint replacement and complications after TKR surgery.
Mean age was 65 years, 36% were male; 22% and 21% had no comorbidity presurgery and postsurgery. Presurgery LLDI frequency was 69.6 (±11.4) and the mean change was 6.1 (±10.2). Thirty-four per cent and 65% reported at least one positive or negative life event. Seven per cent developed hypertension, 6% cardiovascular disease, 2% lung disease and 2% diabetes. Eleven per cent had a complication and 9% another hip or knee replaced. Smaller changes in LLDI frequency were associated with more negative life events (beta=−0.56; 95% CI −0.92 to−0.18) and complications (beta=−4.01; 95% CI −6.63 to –1.38) after adjusting for age, sex, education, body mass index, comorbidities presurgery, number of symptomatic joints and knee-specific pain and function, LLDI limitations and depression. A new comorbidity or another joint replacement was not associated with outcome in unadjusted or adjusted analysis.
Multifaceted life experiences shape the context of peoples’ lives impacting their engagement in activities important for healthy living post-TKR.