Minimal clinically important change of knee flexion in people with knee osteoarthritis after non-surgical interventions using a meta-analytical approach

M. Denika C. Silva, Andrew P. Woodward, Angela M. Fearon, Diana M. Perriman, Trevor J. Spencer, Jacqui M. Couldrick, Jennie M. Scarvell

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Abstract

Background: Minimal clinically important change (MCIC) represents the minimum patient-perceived improvement in an outcome after treatment, in an individual or within a group over time. This study aimed to determine MCIC of knee flexion in people with knee OA after non-surgical interventions using a meta-analytical approach. Methods: Four databases (MEDLINE, Cochrane, Web of Science and CINAHL) were searched for studies of randomised clinical trials of non-surgical interventions with intervention duration of ≤ 3 months that reported change in (Δ) (mean change between baseline and immediately after the intervention) knee flexion with Δ pain or Δ function measured using tools that have established MCIC values. The risk of bias in the included studies was assessed using version 2 of the Cochrane risk-of-bias tool for randomised trials (RoB 2). Bayesian meta-analytic models were used to determine relationships between Δ flexion with Δ pain and Δ function after non-surgical interventions and MCIC of knee flexion. Results: Seventy-two studies (k = 72, n = 5174) were eligible. Meta-analyses included 140 intervention arms (k = 61, n = 4516) that reported Δ flexion with Δ pain using the visual analog scale (pain-VAS) and Δ function using the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index function subscale (function-WOMAC). Linear relationships between Δ pain at rest-VAS (0–100 mm) with Δ flexion were − 0.29 (− 0.44; − 0.15) (β: posterior median (CrI: credible interval)). Relationships between Δ pain during activity VAS and Δ flexion were − 0.29 (− 0.41, − 0.18), and Δ pain-general VAS and Δ flexion were − 0.33 (− 0.42, − 0.23). The relationship between Δ function-WOMAC (out of 100) and Δ flexion was − 0.15 (− 0.25, − 0.07). Increased Δ flexion was associated with decreased Δ pain-VAS and increased Δ function-WOMAC. The point estimates for MCIC of knee flexion ranged from 3.8 to 6.4°. Conclusions: The estimated knee flexion MCIC values from this study are the first to be reported using a novel meta-analytical method. The novel meta-analytical method may be useful to estimate MCIC for other measures where anchor questions are problematic. Systematic review registration: PROSPERO CRD42022323927.

Original languageEnglish
Article number50
Pages (from-to)1-32
Number of pages32
JournalSystematic Reviews
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024

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