Predictors of lower extremity arterial injury after total knee or total hip arthroplasty

Christopher J Abularrage, Jonathan M Weiswasser, Kent J Dezee, Mark B Slidell, William G Henderson, Anton N Sidawy
Journal of Vascular Surgery 2008, 47 (4): 803-7; discussion 807-8

OBJECTIVE: Lower extremity arterial injury is a rare complication following total knee (TKA) or total hip arthroplasty (THA). To date, no multi-institutional study has identified preoperative factors that may portend increased risk for these injuries. We queried a large clinical database for the incidence and predictors of arterial injury and/or compromise following lower extremity arthroplasty.

METHODS: Prospectively collected preoperative and postoperative data by the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP) of the Veterans Affairs Medical Centers were analyzed. All patients from 1996 to 2003 in the NSQIP database who underwent TKA or THA were identified via CPT codes. NSQIP defined, 30-day, postoperative outcomes were analyzed. Data were compared using bivariable analysis, as well as limited multivariable logistic regression.

RESULTS: A total of 41,633 arthroplasties (24,029 TKA, 2077 redo-TKA, 13,494 THA, 2033 redo-THA) were identified in the NSQIP database. A total of 34 (0.08%) lower extremity arterial injuries were recognized (0.08% TKA, 0.19% redo-TKA, 0.04% THA, 0.20% redo-THA). Eighteen injuries were repaired on the same day of surgery (seven intraop, 11 postop), eight between postoperative days 1 and 5, and 8 between days 6 and 30. Only two patients underwent lower extremity amputation (overall limb loss rate of 5.9% of patients who had arterial injury). Statistically significant predictors of lower extremity arterial injury identified on logistic regression analysis included redo procedure (odds ratio [OR] 2.7, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.2-6.0, P = .013) and African American race (OR 2.5, 95% CI 1.2-5.3, P = .02).

CONCLUSION: Lower extremity arterial injury was exceedingly rare after total knee or total hip arthroplasty. There is an increased incidence in African American patients and those undergoing redo arthroplasty. Among patients who sustain vascular injury, excellent limb salvage rates can be achieved with close postoperative surveillance to achieve early detection and repair of injuries.

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