The researchers from Stanford University School of Medicine in California analyzed the recovery of 32 patients who had hip replacement surgery. To see if they could predict patients' recovery, the researchers measured the activity of HLADRlow CD14+ monocytes. Recovery was measured by how quickly fatigue and pain decreased and hip function improved.
The investigators found that when these cells were highly active during the day after surgery, patients took longer to recover than if the activity was low or decreased. Their activity level correlated very strongly with how patients recover from surgery. The more active these cells are, the worse the recovery.
The researchers plan to test these findings in other operations to see if they can be duplicated. If so, they hope to develop a simple, inexpensive blood test that could guide patients and doctors in predicting recovery and planning medical care after an operation.