OA: pain, disability more common among African Americans

  • J Pain

  • curated by Kelli Whitlock Burton
  • Clinical Essentials
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Takeaway

  • African Americans with osteoarthritis (OA) reported higher levels of pain and disability than non-Hispanic whites, according to a meta-analysis, especially among those with knee OA.

Why this matters

  • Previous studies on racial differences among patients with OA have yielded conflicting results on pain severity and disability between black and white patients.

Study design

  • Meta-analysis included 61 studies that evaluated clinical pain severity and race in adults (age, ≥18 years) with OA.
  • Studies included both blacks/African Americans and non-Hispanic whites/Caucasians.
  • The most common clinical pain measure used was the Western Ontario McMaster Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC).
  • Funding: National Institute on Aging; National Institute on Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Key results

  • In quantitative synthesis (28 studies), compared with non-Hispanic whites, pain severity was higher in African Americans in studies using WOMAC (standard mean difference [SMD], 0.57; 95% CI, 0.54-0.61).
  • Results were similar in non-WOMAC studies, but with a slightly lower effect size (SMD, 0.35; 95% CI, 0.23-0.47).
  • African Americans also showed higher self-reported disability (SMD, 0.38; 95% CI, 0.22-0.54) and poorer performance testing (SMD, −0.58; 95% CI, −0.72 to −0.44).

Limitations

  • Only articles published in peer-reviewed journals were included.

Coauthored with Antara Ghosh, PhD

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