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Objective. To quantify the association of radiographic osteoarthritis (ROA) in one knee or hip joint with other knee or hip joints.
Methods. We analyzed baseline data from the Johnston County Osteoarthritis Project (n = 3068). We fit 4 models for left/right knee/hip. The Kellgren-Lawrence (KL) radiographic grade severity scale was KL 0/1 (no/questionable ROA), 2 (mild ROA), or 3/4 (moderate/severe ROA). We estimated associations between KL grade in contralateral joints and other joint sites (e.g., worst hip in knee models), adjusting for sex, race/ethnicity (African American/white), age, and measured body mass index, using cumulative odds logistic regression models. Interactions were investigated: race/ethnicity by sex; race/ethnicity and sex by the 2 explanatory variables.
Results. Contralateral joint KL grade was strongly associated with KL grade, with OR ranging from 9.2 (95% CI 7.1, 11.9) to 225.0 (95% CI 83.6, 605.7). In the left knee model, the contralateral joint association was stronger among African Americans than whites, but for the other models the associations by race/ethnicity were identical. Models examining other joint sites showed weaker but mostly statistically significant associations (OR 1.4 to 1.8).
Conclusion. We found a strong multivariable-adjusted association between KL grades in contralateral knees and hips, and a modest association with the other joint site (e.g., knees vs hips). These results suggest that diagnosis of ROA in 1 large joint may be a marker for risk of multijoint ROA, and warrant interventions to reduce the incidence or severity of ROA at these other joints.
Supported by a grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research; and by the Association of Schools of Public Health S043 and S3486 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- Accepted for publication January 8, 2010.