Are leukocyte-poor or multiple injections of platelet-rich plasma more effective than hyaluronic acid for knee osteoarthritis? A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Center for Joint Diseases, Kyung Hee University Hospital at Gangdong, Seoul, Republic of Korea. Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Chung-Ang University Gwangmyeong Hospital, Chung-Ang University College of Medicine, 110 Deokan-ro, Gwangmyeong-si, Gyeonggi-do, 14353, South Korea. whybe1122@gmail.com. Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, 81 Irwon-Ro, Gangnam-Gu, Seoul, 06351, South Korea.

Archives of orthopaedic and trauma surgery. 2022
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Abstract
INTRODUCTION Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) has gained popularity as a treatment option for knee osteoarthritis; however, its efficacy remains controversial. The optimal leukocyte concentration and number of injections have not been well investigated. This study was, therefore, designed to provide clinical evidence on the leukocyte concentration and number of intra-articular injections of PRP via a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs). METHODS The MEDLINE, Embase, Cochrane Library, CINAHL, and Scopus databases were searched and RCTs comparing PRP and hyaluronic acid (HA) for treating knee osteoarthritis were included. Clinical outcomes, including visual analog scale (VAS) score, Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC), and adverse reactions, were evaluated. RESULTS A total of 138 studies were screened, of which 21 level 1 RCTs (2086 knees; 1077 PRP and 1009 HA) were included. PRPs showed significant improvement in pain according to the VAS score compared to HA at 6 and 12 months, regardless of leukocyte concentration. Both single and multiple injections of PRP improved pain better than HA at 12 months. Regarding function, both single and multiple injections of leukocyte-poor PRP and leukocyte-rich PRP led to significantly better improvement in total WOMAC score compared with HA at 6 months. There was no significant difference in procedure-related knee pain or swelling between the PRP and HA groups. Leukocyte-rich PRP had a significantly higher odds ratio for procedure-related knee pain or swelling compared to HA (odds ratio, 3.3 [95% confidence interval, 1.1-10.2], P = .037). CONCLUSION Based on evidence from Level 1 studies, intra-articular injection of PRP improves pain and function in patients with knee osteoarthritis for up to 12 months and is superior to HA, regardless of leukocyte concentration or number of injections. The findings of this study support the routine clinical use of intra-articular injections of PRP for the treatment of knee osteoarthritis, regardless of the type and frequency of PRP injection. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE Meta-analysis of level I studies.
Study details
Study Design : Systematic Review
Language : eng
Credits : Bibliographic data from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine