Intra-articular (IA) hyaluronic acid (HA) and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections are increasingly being prescribed for knee osteoarthritis (KOA). However, failure of the medical treatment may result in total knee arthroplasty (TKA). We wondered if IA HA or PRP injections (intervention) may delay the time to TKA (outcome) among KOA patients (population), compared to KOA patients not receiving these injections (comparator).
For this systematic literature review (SLR) and meta-analysis, we selected observational studies with at least one group of patients receiving IA HA or PRP and with TKA data available. The main outcome was time from the diagnosis of KOA to TKA. We included 25 articles in the SLR (2,824,401 patients) and four in the meta-analysis. The mean strengthening the reporting of observational studies in epidemiology (STROBE) score was 63%. For patients receiving versus not receiving HA injections, the delay between a declared diagnosis of KOA to TKA was increased by 9.8 months (95% CI (8.2-11.4)). As compared with standard of care, the effect size of HA injections for this outcome was 0.57 (95% CI (0.36-0.76)). Only one study described a median time from PRP injections to TKA of 4.1 years (range 0.3-14.7). IA HA injections were associated with increased time to TKA. Causality cannot be concluded because of missing confounder factors as comorbidities. Data were insufficient to conclude any effect of PRP injections on TKA delay.