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The Correlation of Comorbidity with Function of the Shoulder and Health Status of Patients Who Have Glenohumeral Degenerative Joint Disease*
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Investigation performed at the Department of Orthopaedics, University of Washington, Seattle
J Bone Joint Surg Am, 1998 Aug 01;80(8):1146-53
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We studied the effect of comorbidities on function of the shoulder and health status in a group of eighty-five consecutive patients who had glenohumeral degenerative joint disease of sufficient severity to meet one surgeon's criteria for the performance of shoulder arthroplasty. A questionnaire was used to identify the comorbidities, such as other diseases, social factors, or a work-related injury, for each patient.The number of functions on the Simple Shoulder Test that the patient could perform had a significant negative correlation with the number of comorbidities (r = -0.32, intercept = 4.6 per cent, slope = -0.6, and p = 0.0031). Each parameter on the Short Form-36 (except for physical role function) had a significant negative correlation with the number of comorbidities (p < 0.05). This negative relationship was strongest for general health perception (r = -0.42) and vitality (r = -0.35).We concluded that the number of comorbidities has a quantitative effect on function of the shoulder. In the evaluation of the functional status of patients and the effectiveness of treatment, the effects of comorbidity must be controlled. The results of the present study demonstrate that the scores on the Short Form-36 are quantitatively related to the number of comorbidities. The six parameters that are unrelated to function of the shoulder (physical function, social function, emotional role function, mental health, vitality, and general health perception) may provide a practical way to integrate the effects of all potential comorbidities on individual patients. Future clinical research will be strengthened by efforts to measure the impact of comorbidities and by strategies to control for their effects.

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    These activities have been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint sponsorship of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
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