OBJECTIVE: To examine the influence of different analytical methods, baseline covariates, followup periods, and anchor questions when establishing a minimal important difference (MID) for individuals with knee osteoarthritis (OA). Second, to propose MID for improving and worsening on the Knee injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (KOOS).
METHODS: Retrospective analysis of prospectively collected data from 272 patients with knee OA undergoing a multidisciplinary nonsurgical management strategy. The magnitude and rate of change as well as the influence of baseline covariates were examined for 5 KOOS subscales over 52 weeks. The MID for improving and worsening were investigated using 4 anchor-based methods.
RESULTS: Waitlisted for joint replacement and exhibiting unilateral/bilateral symptoms influenced change in KOOS over time. Generally, low correlations between anchors and KOOS change scores limited calculations of MID; thus, they were only proposed for the pain, activities of daily living, and quality of life subscales. The method used to calculate the MID influenced the cutpoint; however, the type of anchor question only influenced the MID when analyzed with a particular mean change method. Depending on patient and clinical characteristics, the subscale, and the analytical approach used, the MID for KOOS improvement ranged from an absolute change of -1.5 to 20.6 points and worsening ranged from -19.17 to 8.5 points.
CONCLUSION: MID vary with patient and clinical characteristics, KOOS subscale, and analytical approach. Provided the anchor question is relevant to the patient-reported outcome and baseline status is considered, the anchor does not appear to influence the MID for improvement or worsening when using some anchor-based methods.