Patient satisfaction compared with general health and disease-specific questionnaires in knee arthroplasty patients.
When assessing the health status of patients after orthopaedic surgery, such as knee arthroplasty, general health and disease-specific questionnaires are gaining in popularity because of their precision in detecting subtle differences. Self-administered postal surveys using extensive questionnaires have associated patient burden, however, which may have an impact on response rate and completeness. When a high response rate is important or when the use of comprehensive questionnaires is not practical, it may be possible to gain useful outcome data after a surgical procedure by simpler means. Two postal surveys to knee arthroplasty patients were performed. In the first survey, we posed a simple question regarding patient satisfaction to 27,114 patients. A second survey was sent 9 months later to 3,600 of the same patients; the same simple satisfaction question was posed along with several previously validated general health (NHP, SF36, SF12) and disease/site-specific (Oxford-12, WOMAC) outcome questionnaires. We found that patient satisfaction correlates significantly with general health and disease-specific outcome measures, with the highest correlation to the domains that relate to pain and function. When sent a simple satisfaction questionnaire, 95% of the patients answered, whereas the usable return rate of the more comprehensive questionnaires was 18% to 45% lower. Patients not responding to the comprehensive questionnaires were more often unsatisfied with their operated knee than patients responding.