The Journal of Arthroplasty, Volume 36, Issue 1, 24 - 29

Is There Benefit in Keeping Early Discharge Patients Overnight After Total Joint Arthroplasty?

Kraus, Kent R. et al.
Hip Knee


Total joint arthoplasty (TJA) cost containment has been a key focus for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services spawning significant research and programmatic change, including a move toward early discharge and outpatient TJA. TJA outpatients receive few, if any, medical interventions before discharge, but the type and quantity of interventions provided for TJA patients who stay overnight in the hospital is unknown. This study quantified the nature, frequency, and outcome of interventions occurring overnight after primary TJA.


1725 consecutive primary unilateral TJAs performed between 2012 and 2017 by a single surgeon in a rapid-discharge program, managed by a perioperative internal medicine specialist, were reviewed. Medical records were examined for diagnostic tests, treatments, and procedures, results of interventions, and readmissions.


759 patients were discharged on postoperative day 1. Eighty-four percent (641 of 759) received no medical interventions during their overnight hospital stay. Twelve (1.6%) received diagnostic tests, 90 (11.9%) received treatments, and 29 (3.8%) received procedures. Ninety-two percent (11 of 12) of diagnostic tests were negative, 66% of 100 treatments in 90 patients were intravenous fluids for oliguria or hypotension, and all procedures were in and out catheterizations for urinary retention. 90-day all-cause readmission rates were similar in patients who received (2.5%) and did not receive (3.3%) a clinical intervention.


Most patients received no overnight interventions, suggesting unnecessary costly hospitalization. The most common issues addressed were oliguria, urinary retention, and hypotension. Protocols to prevent these conditions would facilitate outpatient TJA, improve patient safety, and reduce costs.

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