Joint replacement in Zambia: A review of Hip & Knee Replacement surgery done at the Zambian-Italian Orthopaedic Hospital

  • Y Mulla
  • J Munthali
  • E Makasa
  • K Kayumba


Background: Incidence of major joint replacement surgery is on the rise in Africa but this trend has not been matched by proper audits in the form of National Joint Registries.
Objective: This paper presents the short-term findings from a joint replacement register started at the Zambian-Italian Orthopaedic Hospital (ZIOH) in Lusaka and compares the variables entered in this register with those captured in the Malawian National Joint Register for purposes of synchronizing these in the near future in the East, Central and Southern African region .
Methods: Data captured by the different variables entered into the Joint Register covering the pre-op, intra-op and post-op period of all total hip and knee replacement surgery done at the ZIOH from 1998 to 2010 was entered into a spreadsheet after verification with individual patient medical records. This was then imported into spss for analysis yielding the following results.
Results: 44 total hips and seven total knee replacement operations were done on 46 patients, 59% of which were female and 41% male. The average age was 58 years. The HIV sero-status of 86.3% was unknown. 36 (70.6%) of the patients had primary osteoarthritis as the diagnosis with pain and joint stiffness being the indication for surgery. Three consultants and one senior registrar did the operations mainly using the Hardinge approach to the hip. 43 (84.3%) were primary Total Hip replacement with only one revision. The 28mm hip head size was the commonest fitted with most patients, 48 (94.1%) being functionally mobile at six weeks post operation.
Conclusion: This audit clearly shows a rising trend of major joint replacement over the years and highlights the gaps in variables entered into the ZIOH joint register such as HIV status. It also helps us recognize the need for setting up a National Joint Register that is comparable to others that have been set up in the region such as is the case in Malawi which is key in improving orthopaedic training and patient care.

Keywords: Joint replacement, National Joint Register, HIV


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 0047-651X
print ISSN: 0047-651X