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OBJECTIVES: To study the impact of the introduction of biological disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (bDMARDs) and associated rheumatoid arthritis (RA) management guidelines on the incidence of total hip (THR) and knee replacements (TKR) in Denmark. METHODS: Nationwide register-based cohort and interrupted time-series analysis. Patients with incident RA between 1996 and 2011 were identified in the Danish National Patient Register. Patients with RA were matched on age, sex and municipality with up to 10 general population comparators (GPCs). Standardised 5-year incidence rates of THR and TKR per 1000 person-years were calculated for patients with RA and GPCs in 6-month periods. Levels and trends in the pre-bDMARD (1996-2001) were compared with the bDMARD era (2003-2016) using segmented linear regression interrupted by a 1-year lag period (2002). RESULTS: We identified 30 404 patients with incident RA and 297 916 GPCs. In 1996, the incidence rate of THR and TKR was 8.72 and 5.87, respectively, among patients with RA, and 2.89 and 0.42 in GPCs. From 1996 to 2016, the incidence rate of THR decreased among patients with RA, but increased among GPCs. Among patients with RA, the incidence rate of TKR increased from 1996 to 2001, but started to decrease from 2003 and throughout the bDMARD era. The incidence of TKR increased among GPCs from 1996 to 2016. CONCLUSION: We report that the incidence rate of THR and TKR was 3-fold and 14-fold higher, respectively among patients with RA compared with GPCs in 1996. In patients with RA, introduction of bDMARDs was associated with a decreasing incidence rate of TKR, whereas the incidence of THR had started to decrease before bDMARD introduction.

Original publication




Journal article


Ann Rheum Dis

Publication Date



anti-tnf, dmards (biologic), epidemiology, orthopedic surgery, rheumatoid arthritis