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Prem babies face hip replacement risk

Friday November 7th, 2014

Pre-term and low-weight babies are more likely to need a hip replacement due to osteoarthritis (OA) when they are adults, according to a new study.

New research at the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at Monash University and Alfred Hospital in Melbourne, Australia, said identifying those at high risk for hip OA and offering interventions as early as possible could help to reduce the numbers of people suffering from the debilitating disease.

The team analysed data from 3,604 people who took part in the Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle Study, all of whom were 40 years of age or older.

Participants’ birthweight was noted, as was if they were born prematurely. Their records were then linked to knee and hip replacements due to OA data (2002-2011) from the Australian Orthopaedic Association National Joint Replacement Registry.

The findings, published in Arthritis Care & Research, showed 116 of the participants had knee replacement surgery and 75 underwent hip arthroplasty for OA.

Low birth weight and preterm birth were linked to increased incidence of hip replacement, regardless of age, sex, body mass index (BMI), education level, hypertension, diabetes, smoking and physical activity. There was no significant link between low birth weight or preterm birth and knee replacement surgery.

Lead investigator, Professor Flavia Cicuttini, said: “Currently there are no disease-modifying medications available to treat OA, which makes understanding the risk factors associated with OA so important for improving prevention of this disabling disease.”

Previous research has linked low birth weight and preterm birth to hypertension, cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance and reduced bone mass in adulthood.

Hussain SM, Wang Y et al. Association of Low Birth Weight and Preterm Birth with the Incidence Of Knee and Hip Arthroplasty for Osteoarthritis. Arthritis Care and Research 3 November 2014; doi: 10.1002/acr.22475. [abstract]

Tags: Australia | Child Health | Childbirth and Pregnancy | Orthopaedics | Women’s Health & Gynaecology

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