The Journal of Arthroplasty , Volume 33 , Issue 7 , 2075 - 2081

Reasons for Ninety-Day Emergency Visits and Readmissions After Elective Total Joint Arthroplasty: Results From a US Integrated Healthcare System

Kelly, Matthew P. et al.
Hip Knee


Previous studies evaluating reasons for 30-day readmissions following total joint arthroplasty (TJA) may underestimate hospital-based utilization of healthcare resources during a patient’s episode-of-care. We sought to identify common reasons for 90-day emergency department (ED) visits and hospital readmissions following primary elective unilateral TJA.


Patients from July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2015 having primary elective TJA and at least one 90-day postoperative ED-only visit and/or readmission for any reason were identified using the Kaiser Permanente Total Joint Replacement Registry. Chart reviews for ED visits/readmissions included 13 surgical and 11 medical reasons. The 2344 total hips and 5520 total knees were analyzed separately.


Incidence of at least one ED visit following total hip arthroplasty (THA) was 13.4% and 4.5% for readmissions. The most frequent reasons for ED visits were swelling (15.6%) and pain (12.8%); the most frequent reasons for readmissions were infection (12.5%) and unrelated elective procedures (9.0%). The incidence of at least one ED visit following total knee arthroplasty (TKA) was 13.8%, and the incidence of readmission was 5.5%. The most frequent reasons for ED visits were pain (15.8%) and swelling (15.6%); the most common readmission reasons were gastrointestinal (19.1%) and manipulation under anesthesia (9.4%).


Swelling and pain related to the procedure were the most frequent reasons for 90-day ED visits after both THA and TKA. Readmissions were most commonly due to infection or unrelated procedures for THA and gastrointestinal or manipulation under anesthesia for TKA. Modifications to discharge protocols may help prevent or alleviate these issues, avoiding unnecessary hospital returns.

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