Objectives: Registers have proven to be a valuable instrument in the evaluation of arthroplasty procedures and the performance of implants. The aim of this study was to describe the structure, functioning, and content of arthroplasty registers in Europe and other parts of the world.
Methods: A search of technical reports was carried out through the Internet and in Medline/PubMed. The exhaustiveness of the information was confirmed using the links to Web pages of other registers and contacts with key people. Aims, methods in data collection and evaluation, internal structure and organization, participants, validity of the data, and other variables were assessed for each arthroplasty register using a qualitative content analysis of the texts.
Results: Fifteen arthroplasty registers were identified which published sufficient information to conduct a comparative analysis. Eight additional registers were identified but no information was available on the Internet or in English. Most registers were initiatives of an orthopaedic society receiving governmental funding. Data were collected using standardized clinical forms and additional information from clinical-administrative datasets or other registers (mortality, implant costs, hip fractures). The main outcome measure of these registers is survival of the prostheses. Registers use the Internet and their annual reports as the main strategy for the dissemination and feed-back of their results.
Conclusions: Scientific or professional societies and the public health administration should collaborate in the development of arthroplasty registers. To adequately assess the results of observational data information on the structure, the process of arthroplasty interventions and patients characteristics should be collected.