The Journal of Arthroplasty , Volume 33 , Issue 9 , 2745 - 2751.e1

Postdischarge Unscheduled Care Burden After Lower Limb Arthroplasty

Tucker, Adam et al.
Hip Knee


In contrast to postdischarge arthroplasty readmission rates, the unscheduled reattendance burden to primary care is under-reported. Understanding reasons for reattendance would allow for implementation of strategies to reduce this burden. The present study aims to quantify the out-of-hours (OOH) general practitioner and emergency department (ED) service reattendance burden and readmission rate after primary total hip arthroplasty and total knee arthroplasty, with estimation of the associated costs.


This is a prospective consecutive cohort study. A prospective audit of all total hip arthroplasty and total knee arthroplasty patients in 2016 in a single high-volume UK arthroplasty unit was performed. Incidence and reasons for reattendance to OOH and ED service, as well as readmission rates, at both 30 and 90 days following discharge are reported. A multivariate analysis was performed to determine patient characteristics, which results in increased reattendance and readmission rates.


A total of 2351 procedures resulted in 374 attendances of OOH service and 665 to ED with a total estimated cost of £190,000 within 90 days. The readmission rate was 6.8%. Risk factors for reattendance and readmission were increasing age and a prolonged length of stay. The use of a 5-day postdischarge phone call and a dedicated Arthroplasty Care Practitioner favors reduced reattendances but not the readmission rate, with the additional benefit of being cost-effective.


The postdischarge arthroplasty reattendance burden is associated with significant costs, and strategies to reduce this should be developed. Further research is required to assess the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of multicomponent strategies to reduce reattendance operating at scale.

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