The Journal of Arthroplasty, Volume 32, Issue 3, 719 - 723

Late Complications Following Elective Primary Total Hip and Knee Arthroplasty: Who, When, and How?

Rozell, Joshua C. et al.
Hip Knee


Improved pain management and early mobilization protocols have increased interest in the feasibility of short stay (<24 hours) or outpatient total hip (THA) and total knee (TKA) arthroplasty. However, concerns exist regarding patient safety and readmissions. The purposes of this study were to determine the incidence of in-hospital complications following THA/TKA, to create a model to identify comorbidities associated with the risk of developing major complications >24 hours postoperatively, and to validate this model against another consecutive series of patients.


We prospectively evaluated a consecutive series of 802 patients who underwent elective primary THA and TKA over a 9-month period. The mean age was 62.3 years. Demographic, surgical, and postoperative readmission data were entered into an arthroplasty database.


Of the 802 patients, 382 experienced a complication postoperatively. Of these, 152 (19%) required active management. Multiple logistic regression analysis identified cirrhosis (odds ratio [OR], 5.89; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.05-33.07; P = .044), congestive heart failure (OR, 3.12; 95% CI, 1.50-6.44; P = .002), and chronic kidney disease (OR, 3.85; 95% CI, 2.21-6.71; P < .001) as risk factors for late complications. One comorbidity was associated with a 77% probability of developing a major postoperative complication. This model was validated against an independent dataset of 1012 patients.


With improved pain management and mobilization protocols, there is increasing interest in short stay and outpatient THA and TKA. Patients with cirrhosis, congestive heart failure, or chronic kidney disease should be excluded from early discharge total joint arthroplasty protocols.

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