, Volume 468, Issue 7, pp 1749-1758

Gender Differences in the Correlation between Symptom and Radiographic Severity in Patients with Knee Osteoarthritis

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Abstract

Background

The effects of gender on the relationship between symptom manifestations and radiographic grades of knee osteoarthritis are not well understood.

Questions/purposes

We therefore determined the increments of symptom progression with regard to radiographic grades of knee osteoarthritis and asked if those increments differed by gender and whether symptom severity was differentially manifested by gender within the same grade.

Methods

We recruited 660 community residents; 368 (56%) women and 292 (44%) men. The mean subject age was 71.5 years (range, 65–91 years). Severity of symptoms was measured using the WOMAC and SF-36 scales, and the radiographic severity using Kellgren–Lawrence grades. Incremental changes in WOMAC and SF-36 scores were compared between adjacent Kellgren–Lawrence grades separately in men and women, and in the overall population. We compared symptom severity between men and women with the same radiographic grade.

Results

For the entire cohort, the mean incremental change in symptom severity was not gradual between the adjacent radiographic grades but was greater between Kellgren–Lawrence Grades 1 and 2 and Grades 2 and 3 than between Grades 0 and 1 or Grades 3 and 4. The patterns of incremental changes in symptom severity differed between men and women: women had more severe symptom progression between Kellgren–Lawrence Grades 2 and 3 and Grades 3 and 4 than men. Furthermore, women had worse mean WOMAC and SF-36 scores than men with the same radiographic grade of knee osteoarthritis.

Conclusions

These data suggest symptom progression is not gradual between adjacent radiographic grades, and for the same radiographic grade, symptoms are worse in women.

Level of Evidence

Level III, diagnostic study. See Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

One or more of the authors received funding from Pfizer Global Pharmaceuticals (Grant Number 06-05-039) (TKK) and Seongnam City Government in Korea (Grant Number 800-20050211) (TKK).
Each author certifies that his or her institution has approved the human protocol for this investigation that all investigations were conducted in conformity with ethical principles of research, and that informed consent was obtained.
This work was performed at the Joint Reconstruction Center, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital.