Citation Nr: 18123984
Decision Date: 08/06/18	Archive Date: 08/03/18

DOCKET NO. 15-23 708
DATE:	August 6, 2018
REMANDED
Entitlement to service connection for degenerative joint disease (DJD), left knee, to include as secondary to the Veteran’s service-connected disabilities, is remanded. 
REASONS FOR REMAND
The Veteran served on active duty from July 1980 to June 1982. 
The Board notes that based on the evidence of record, the Board has re-characterized the Veteran’s claim of entitlement to service connection for DJD, left knee, more broadly as a claim of entitlement to service connection for DJD, left knee, to include as secondary to the Veteran’s service-connected disabilities.  See Clemons v. Shinseki, 23 Vet. App. 1 (2009) (the scope of a disability claim includes any disability that may reasonably be encompassed by the claimant’s description of the claim, reported symptoms, and the other information of record). 
With respect to the Veteran’s claim for service connection for DJD, left knee, the Board finds that further development is warranted for the following reasons.
Here, the Veteran contends that his DJD, left knee, was caused by or related to his service, and is secondary to his service-connected disabilities of degenerative disc disease (DDD) of the lumbosacral spine and/or his right knee arthralgia with arthritis. 
Although the Veteran was provided with a VA examination in July 2012, the Board finds that the VA examiner’s medical opinion is inadequate.  While the VA examiner opined that the Veteran’s left knee DJD was less likely than not proximately due to or the result of a service-connected right knee arthritis, the VA examiner failed to provide an opinion as to whether the Veteran’s left knee DJD was proximately due to or the result of his service-connected DDD of the lumbosacral spine.  Thus, an addendum opinion is required. 
The matters are REMANDED for the following action:
1. Obtain any VA and non-VA medical records relevant to the Veteran’s claim for DJD of the left knee.
2. Regarding the Veteran’s claim for DJD, left knee, request an addendum opinion from a qualified health care professional.  The examiner should respond to the following, after reviewing and considering all the Veteran’s pertinent lay and medical evidence:
(a)	Whether it is at least as likely as not (probability of at least 50 percent) that the Veteran’s DJD, left knee, was caused by or incurred in service.
(b)	 Whether it is at least as likely as not (probability of at least 50 percent) that the Veteran’s DJD, left knee, is (a) proximately caused by or (b) aggravated by (permanently worsened beyond the normal progression) his service-connected DDD of the lumbosacral spine and/or his right knee arthralgia with arthritis. 
In offering this opinion, the examiner is instructed that the phase “caused by or result of” is insufficient to address the question of aggravation.
If aggravation is found, the examiner should also state, to the extent possible, the baseline level of disability prior to aggravation. This may be ascertained by the medical evidence of record and by the Veteran’s statements as to the nature, severity, and frequency of her observable symptoms over time.
Any opinion expressed by the VA examiner must “contain not only clear conclusions with supporting data, but also a reasoned medical explanation connecting the two.  See Nieves-Rodriguez v. Peake, 22 Vet. App. 295, 301 (2008).


 
YVETTE R. WHITE
Veterans Law Judge
Board of Veterans’ Appeals
ATTORNEY FOR THE BOARD	D. Abdelbary, Associate Counsel

For A Complete Guide To VA Disability Claims and to find out more about your potential VA disability case and how to obtain favorable VA Rating Decision! Visit: VA-Claims.org

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