The Journal of Arthroplasty, Volume 35, Issue 4, 950 - 954

The Effect of Neuraxial Anesthesia on Postoperative Outcomes in Total Joint Arthroplasty With Rapid Recovery Protocols

Turcotte, Justin J. et al.
Hip Knee


Compared to general anesthesia (GA), neuraxial anesthesia (NA) has been associated with improved outcomes after total joint arthroplasty (TJA). We examined the impact of NA on patient outcomes in an institution with an established rapid recovery protocol.


This is a single-institution retrospective analysis of 5914 consecutive primary TJA performed from July 2015 to June 2018. Univariate tests and multivariate regression compared length of stay (LOS), transfusion rates, hematocrit levels, discharge disposition, and emergency room returns between patients receiving GA and NA.


Patients receiving NA had a significantly shorter LOS (total hip arthroplasty [THA]: GA 1.74 vs NA 1.36 days, P < .001; total knee arthroplasty [TKA]: GA 1.77 vs NA 1.64 days, P < .001). Both THA and TKA patients receiving NA were less likely to require transfusion (THA: GA 5.8% vs NA 1.6%, P < .001; TKA: GA 2.5% vs NA 0.5%, P < .001) and had a higher postoperative hematocrit (THA: GA 32.50% vs NA 33.22%, P < .001; TKA GA 33.57 vs NA 34.50%, P < .001). Patients receiving NA were more likely to discharge home (THA: GA 83.4% vs NA 92.3%, P < .001; TKA: GA 83.3% vs NA 86.3%, P = .010) (THA: NA adjusted OR [aOR] 2.04, P < .001; TKA: NA aOR 1.23, P = .048) and had significantly lower rates of 90-day emergency room visits (THA: NA aOR 0.61, P = .005; TKA: NA aOR 0.74, P = .034).


NA appears to contribute to decreased LOS, short-term complications, and transfusions while facilitating home discharge following TKA and THA. These trends are consistent when controlling for patient-specific risk factors, suggesting NA may enhance outcomes for patients with increased age, body mass index, and comorbidities.

Level Of Evidence

Level III Retrospective Cohort Study.

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