Acta Orthopaedica, 87:sup1, 37-43, DOI: 10.1080/17453674.2016.1181820

Postoperative opioid use as an early indication of total hip arthroplasty failure

Robert S Namba, Maria C S Inacio, Nicole L Pratt, Stephen E Graves, Elizabeth E Roughead, T Craig Cheetham & Elizabeth W Paxton

Background and purpose — A criticism of total hip arthroplasty (THA) survivorship analysis is that revisions are a late and rare outcome. We investigated whether prolonged opioid use is a possible indicator of early THA failure.

Patients and methods — We conducted a cohort study of THAs registered in a total joint replacement registry from January 2008 to December 2011. 12,859 patients were evaluated. The median age was 67 years and 58% were women. Opioid use in the year after surgery was the exposure of interest, and the cumulative daily amounts of oral morphine equivalents (OMEs) were calculated. Post-THA OMEs per 90 day periods were categorized into quartiles. The endpoints were 1- and 5-year revisions.

Results — After the first 90 days, 27% continued to use opioids. The revision rate was 0.9% within a year and 1.7% within 5 years. Use of medium-low (100–219 mg), medium-high (220–533 mg), and high (≥ 534 mg) amounts of OMEs in days 91–180 after surgery was associated with a 6 times (95% confidence interval (CI): 3–15), 5 times (CI: 2–13), and 11 times (CI: 2.9–44) higher adjusted risk of 1 year revision, respectively. The use of medium-low and medium-high amounts of OMEs in days 181–270 after surgery was associated with a 17 times (CI: 6–44) and 14 times (95% CI: 4–46) higher adjusted risk of 1-year revision. There was a similar higher risk of 5-year revision.

Interpretation — Persistent postoperative use of opioids was associated with revision THA surgery in this cohort, and it may be an early indicator of potential surgical failures.

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