Acta Orthopaedica, 83:2, 190-196, DOI: 10.3109/17453674.2012.672089

Factors predisposing to claims and compensations for patient injuries following total hip and knee arthroplasty

Jutta Järvelin, Unto Häkkinen, Gunnar Rosenqvist & Ville Remes
Hip Knee

Background and purpose Factors associated with malpractice claims are poorly understood. Knowledge of these factors could help to improve patient safety. We investigated whether patient characteristics and hospital volume affect claims and compensations following total hip arthroplasty (THA) and knee arthroplasty (TKA) in a no-fault scheme.

Methods A retrospective registry-based study was done on 16,646 THAs and 17,535 TKAs performed in Finland from 1998 through 2003. First, the association between patient characteristics—e.g., age, sex, comorbidity, prosthesis type—and annual hospital volume with filing of a claim was analyzed by logistic regression. Then, multinomial logistic regression was applied to analyze the association between these same factors and receipt of compensation.

Results For THA and TKA, patients over 65 years of age were less likely to file a claim than patients under 65 (OR = 0.57, 95% CI: 0.46–0.72 and OR = 0.65, CI: 0.53–0.80, respectively), while patients with increased comorbidity were more likely to file a claim (OR = 1.17, CI: 1.04–1.31 and OR = 1.14, CI: 1.03-1.26, respectively). Following THA, male sex and cemented prosthesis reduced the odds of a claim (OR = 0.74, CI: 0.60–0.91 and OR = 0.77, CI: 0.60–0.99, respectively) and volume of between 200 and 300 operations increased the odds of a claim (OR = 1.29, CI: 1.01–1.64). Following TKA, a volume of over 300 operations reduced the probability of compensation for certain injury types (RRR = 0.24, CI: 0.08–0.72).

Interpretation Centralization of TKA to hospitals with higher volume may reduce the rate of compensable patient injuries. Furthermore, more attention should be paid to equal opportunities for patients to file a claim and obtain compensation.

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