The Journal of Arthroplasty , Volume 33 , Issue 11 , 3429 - 3436

Does Dexamethasone Reduce Hospital Readiness for Discharge, Pain, Nausea, and Early Patient Satisfaction in Hip and Knee Arthroplasty? A Randomized, Controlled Trial

Dissanayake, Ravi et al.
Hip Knee


Reduction in postoperative pain, nausea, and vomiting in patients undergoing total joint arthroplasty may facilitate earlier discharge from hospital and reduce healthcare costs. This study was performed to primarily assess whether perioperative dexamethasone reduced hospital length of stay and to assess the effect on pain, nausea and vomiting, and patient satisfaction.


One hundred sixty-four patients undergoing total hip arthroplasty or total knee arthroplasty were randomized to receive either 8 mg intravenous dexamethasone (n = 86) or placebo (n = 78) at induction and at 24 hours postsurgery. The primary outcome was length of stay and secondary outcomes were pain and nausea visual analog scale scores, analgesic and antiemetic usage, blood glucose level, and patient satisfaction.


Participants in the study group achieved earlier readiness for discharge. There was a 20% reduction in pain scores and morphine usage was 27% lower in the study group. Nausea scores were similar in the 2 groups but there was lower antiemetic usage in the study group. Satisfaction scores at 6 weeks postsurgery in the dexamethasone group were significantly higher than the placebo group. There was no difference in complication rates between the 2 groups.


The administration of intravenous dexamethasone could lead to earlier readiness for discharge especially in patients undergoing elective total hip arthroplasty, primarily by a reduction in postoperative pain scores and/or morphine requirements.

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