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Walking speed is a predictor of mortality in patients with knee OA

Presented by
Dr Hiral Master, University of Delaware,, USA
ACR 2019
Slow walking speed at one timepoint seems sufficient to extrapolate on later mortality in patients with knee osteoarthritis (OA) [1].

Earlier studies have shown that faster walking speed is consistently associated with a lower incidence of radiographic and symptomatic knee OA [2]. In addition, it is known that speeds slower than 1.22 m/s are a risk factor for poor health outcomes in OA. The presented study evaluated if walking speed at 1 timepoint, degree of decline in walking speed over 1 year, or both could predict mortality risk over 9 years in knee OA. Data from 4,229 participants included in the Osteoarthritis Initiative were analysed (58% female, age 62.3±9.2 years, BMI 28.5±4.8).

Patients with a walking speed <1.22 m/s with and without decline had a 108% and 96% greater risk of mortality compared with those walking faster without a meaningful decline over the previous year. So, walking slower than 1.22 m/s is associated with increased mortality risk, irrespective of the degree of decline in walking speed during the prior year. In contrast, those walking ≥1.22 m/s who did have a meaningful decline in walking speed over the previous year did not have an increased risk of mortality. Therefore, the authors conclude that with regard to walking speed, a speed of 1.22 m/s seems to be a threshold. Assessing walking speed at 1 timepoint may therefore be sufficient to gauge mortality risk in patients with knee OA.

    1. Master H, et al. Abstract 2924. ACR 2019. November 8-13, Atlanta (GA/USA).
    2. Purser J, et al. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken) 2012;641028-35. 

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