Trends in in-hospital major morbidity and mortality after total joint arthroplasty: United States 1998-2008

Meghan Kirksey, Ya Lin Chiu, Yan Ma, Alejandro Gonzalez Della Valle, Lazaros Poultsides, Peter Gerner, Stavros G Memtsoudis
Anesthesia and Analgesia 2012, 115 (2): 321-7

BACKGROUND: The use of total joint arthroplasties is increasing worldwide. In this work we aim to elucidate recent trends in demographics and perioperative outcomes of patients undergoing total hip (THA) or total knee arthroplasty (TKA).

METHODS: Data from the US Nationwide Impatient Sample between 1998 and 2008 were gathered for primary THAs and TKAs. Trends in patient age, comorbidity burden, length of hospitalization, frequency of major perioperative complications, and in-hospital mortality were analyzed. In-hospital outcomes were reported as events per 1000 inpatient days to account for changes in length of hospitalization over time. Deyo index, discharge status, and the interaction effect of time and discharge status were included in the adjusted trend analysis for morbidity.

RESULTS: Between 1998 and 2008, the average age of patients undergoing TKA and THA decreased by 2 to 3 years (P < 0.001). The average length of stay decreased by approximately 1 day over the time interval studied (P < 0.001). The percentage of patients being discharged home declined from 29.7% to 25.4% after TKA and from 29.3% to 24.2% after THA, in favor of dispositions to long- and short-term care facilities (P < 0.0001). Comorbidity burden as measured by the Deyo comorbidity index increased by 35% and 30% for TKA and THA patients, respectively (P < 0.0001). After TKA, there was an increase in the incidence of the following major complications: pulmonary embolism (coefficient estimate [CE] 0.069; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.059-0.079; P < 0.0001), sepsis (CE 0.034; 95% CI, 0.014-0.054; P = 0.001), nonmyocardial infarction cardiac complications (CE 0.038; 95% CI, 0.035-0.041; P < 0.0001), and pneumonia (CE 0.039; 95% CI, 0.031-0.047; P < 0.0001). After THA, there was an increase in the incidence of the following major complications: pulmonary embolism (CE 0.031; 95% CI, 0.012-0.049; P = 0.001), sepsis (CE 0.060; 95% CI, 0.039-0.081; P < 0.0001), nonmyocardial infarction cardiac complications (CE 0.040; 95% CI, 0.036-0.043; P < 0.0001), and pneumonia (CE 0.039; 95% CI, 0.029-0.048). In-hospital mortality declined after both TKA (CE -0.059; 95% CI, -0.077 to -0.040; P < 0.0001) and THA (CE -0.068; 95% CI, -0.086 to -0.051; P < 0.0001).

CONCLUSION: Between 1998 and 2008, trends show increases in several major in-hospital complications after THA and TKA, including pulmonary embolism, sepsis, nonmyocardial infarction cardiac complications, and pneumonia. Despite the increase in complications, declining in-hospital mortality was noted over this period.

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