Purpose: Since biologic agents were introduced to treat rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in 2003, the number of orthopedic surgical procedures under treatment with biologic agents has been increasing in Japan. However, whether biologic agents cause an increase in the prevalence of postoperative complications is as yet unknown. The Committee on Arthritis of the Japanese Orthopedic Association investigated the prevalence of postoperative complications in patients with RA in teaching hospitals in Japan. Methods: Between January 2004 and November 2008, surveillance forms about medications and surgical procedures in patients with RA were sent to 2,019 teaching hospitals. Data were analyzed by the Rheumatoid Arthritis Committee. Results: Biologic agents were administered to RA patients in 632 of 1,245 hospitals (50.8%); 430 of the 1,245 hospitals (34.5%) used surgical intervention under treatment with biologic agents. The number of surgical procedures under treatment with biologic agents was 3,468, and the prevalence of infection was 1.3% (46 cases). The prevalence of infection was 1.0% (567 procedures) in 56,339 procedures under treatment with nonbiologic disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs. There were no significant differences between biological and nonbiological treatment groups with respect to the prevalence of infection. In the joint arthroplasty group, the number of procedures under biological and nonbiological treatment was 1,626 and 29,903, and the prevalence of infection was 2.1% (34 procedures) and 1.0% (298 procedures), respectively. There was a significant difference between groups. The odds ratio was 2.12 (95% confidence interval 1.48-3.03, P < 0.0001). Conclusion: The chance of having biological treatment with joint arthroplasty was more than twofold greater in patients with surgical-site infections compared with those treated with nonbiologic agents. Caution is required for surgical procedure, perioperative course, and obtaining consent for joint arthroplasty for patients with RA undergoing surgery under biological agents.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine