Technology helps hip, knee replacements last longer

February 25, 2019

Published by Harvest ETFs

Hip and knee replacements are among the most common forms of surgery. Steady advances in medical science mean the procedures are becoming less intrusive and patients heal faster as lighter, stronger implants have become available. 

One question doctors have found hard to answer is how long the implants last. That information helps patients decide when they should have the surgery. This is becoming a more important consideration as the population ages and life expectancy rises.

A University of Bristol study answers the question. Researchers writing in The Lancet medical journal, looked at six countries which held at least 15 years of data – Australia, Finland, Denmark, New Zealand, Norway and Sweden.

They found that 80% of knee replacements lasted 25 years and 90% lasted 20 years. When it came to hips, nearly 60% lasted for 25 years and 70% lasted 20 years. This is much longer than believed.

For investors, increasing longevity and hip and knee surgery are a trend among broader healthcare opportunities.

The Canadian Health Information Institute (CHII), a non-profit group based in Ottawa, says Canadian hip and knee replacements are growing by double digits. They are being performed on 123,000 Canadians each year at a cost of $1 billion to the healthcare system. BBC Health recently reported that nearly 200,000 hip and knee operations are performed in  England and Wales each year.

In the UK, most are carried out on people between 60 and 80 years old, which is similar to CIHI’s latest report which notes that two-thirds of hip replacements are going to patients 65 or older. CIHI says knee replacements having a younger demographic where half of all patients are 50 or older.

 The Harvest Healthcare Leaders Income ETF (TSX: HHL, HHL.U) aims to capture growth in this sector. The Fund invests in the stocks of 20 global healthcare issuers that have a minimum market capitalization of US$5 billion.  

Two of the top holdings in the ETF are Stryker Corp., with a market cap of US$70.31 billion and Boston Scientific Corp. with a market cap of US $56.07 billion. Both offer a broad range of medical devices and equipment and are benefiting from the medical needs of an aging developed world population and growing emerging market one. – AM

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The views and/or opinions expressed in the blog are of a general nature and are for informational purposes only. Blog contents should not be considered as advice and/or a recommendation to purchase or sell the mentioned securities or used to engage in personal investment strategies. Investors should consult their investment advisor before making any investment decision.  

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