The Journal of Arthroplasty, Volume 34, Issue 12, 2957 - 2961

Opioid Disorders Are Associated With Thromboemboli Following Primary Total Knee Arthroplasty

Vakharia, Rushabh M. et al.


Opioid use disorder (OUD) is defined as a problematic pattern of opioid abuse and dependency leading to problems or distress. The purpose of this study is to investigate whether OUD patients undergoing primary total knee arthroplasty (TKA) have higher rates of venous thromboembolisms (VTEs), readmissions, and costs of care.


Patients undergoing TKA with OUD were identified and matched to controls in a 1:4 ratio according to age, gender, comorbidity index, and comorbidities within the Medicare database. Ninety-day VTEs, 90-day readmissions, and costs of care were compared. A P-value less than .01 was considered statistically significant.


The study yielded 54,480 patients with (n = 10,929) and without (n = 43,551) OUD undergoing primary TKA. Matching was successful as there were no significant differences in baseline characteristics. OUD patients were found to have greater odds of VTEs (odds ratio 2.27, P < .0001) 90 days following primary TKA. OUD patients were found to have greater odds of 90-day readmissions (odds ratio 1.39, P < .0001) in addition to incurring higher day of surgery ($13,360.73 vs $11,911.94, P < .0001) and 90-day costs ($18,380.89 vs $15,565.57, P < .0001) compared to controls.


After adjusting for confounders, this analysis of 54,480 patients identified that patients with OUD have higher rates of VTEs, readmissions, and costs following primary TKA. In addition to using these data to help educate and counsel patients, the study should be used to help further regulate and control opioid prescriptions written by healthcare professionals.

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