The treatment of a first-time traumatic patella dislocation in children and adolescents remains controversial. Preference-based health utility assessments can provide health-related quality of life information for orthopaedic conditions and their subsequent treatment. The purpose of this study was to determine utilities for pediatric acute traumatic patella dislocation and subsequent treatment health states from both children with patellar dislocation, and their parents.
Adolescents with acute first-time patella dislocations and their parents were identified. Six patella dislocation health states were defined: (1) Immediate post injury (Injury), (2) Postdislocation and nonoperative treatment with physical therapy (Rehabilitation), (3) Immediately poststabilization surgery (Postsurgical), (4) Recurrent dislocation after treatment (Recurrent dislocator), (5) Stable knee after initial treatment but unable to participate in sport at previous level (Stable return to lower function), and (6) Stable knee after initial treatment and fully able to participate in sport at previous level (Stable return to same function). Classic feeling thermometer utilities acquisition was performed, with self-report (patient) and proxy-report (parent) interviews performed separately. Patients’ physical activity levels were collected using the UCLA Activity Score and the HSS Pedi-FABS. Comparisons between groups were made using Mann-Whitney U test and Wilcoxon signed-rank test.
Ninety-five adolescents and 95 parents were included. Median (interquartile range) patient utilities for Injury, Rehabilitation, Postsurgical, Recurrent dislocator, Stable return to lower function, and Stable return to same function health states were: 25 (10 to 45), 50 (35 to 62.5), 30 (15 to 48.5), 20 (10 to 40), 70 (50 to 80), and 100 (100 to 100), respectively. Caregiver-derived utilities for children going through these health states were: 25 (10 to 49.5), 50 (25 to 60), 40 (15 to 60), 20 (5 to 40), 60 (50 to 77.5), and 100 (100 to 100). Stable return to a lower function was assigned a significantly higher utility by adolescents than their caregivers (P=0.03); highly active adolescents assigned a significantly higher utility to achieving a stable return to same function (P=0.02) while assigning significantly lower utility to health states in which they were not fully participating in sport.
Adolescents and their parents felt that successful treatment of an acute patella dislocation was equivalent to perfect health (utility=1); however, adolescents assigned a significantly higher utility to a stable but lower functioning health state compared with their parents. Baseline functional status is an important modifier of health state preference-highly active adolescents assign a significantly greater disutility to health states in which they are not participating in sports at their regular level of play. These findings provide insight into the health-related quality of life impact for acute patella dislocations and their management, and potentially support minimizing time out of play and more aggressive treatment of first time acute patellar dislocations in athletic adolescents.
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