The Journal of Arthroplasty, Volume 36, Issue 2, 462 - 466

Routine Basic Metabolic Panels Are Not Needed in All Patients After Primary Total Joint Arthroplasty: An Opportunity for Cost Reduction

Chaudhry, Yash P. et al.
Hip Knee


As the incidence of total joint arthroplasty (TJA) increases, identifying methods for cost reduction is essential. Basic metabolic panels (BMPs) are obtained routinely after TJA. We aimed at assessing the prevalence of intervention secondary to abnormal BMPs after primary TJA and at identifying predictors of the need for postoperative BMPs.


We reviewed 802 cases (758 patients) of primary lower-extremity TJA performed from January 1 through December 31, 2018, at our tertiary care medical center. Patient characteristics, preoperative and postoperative BMPs, comorbidities, current medications, and in-hospital interventions were recorded. Age-adjusted Charlson Comorbidity Index (AA-CCI) values were calculated. Institutional costs of 1 BMP and of all BMPs not prompting intervention were calculated. We used multiple regression to identify independent predictors of in-hospital interventions secondary to abnormal postoperative BMPs.


Our institutional BMP cost was $36. A total of 1032 postoperative BMPs were ordered; 958 (93%) prompted no intervention. This equated to $34,488 of avoidable BMP costs. We identified 27 cases (3.4%) requiring intervention secondary to abnormal BMPs. Independent predictors of intervention were preoperative renal dysfunction (ie, abnormal creatinine or glomerular filtration rate <60 mL/min) (odds ratio [OR], 7.8; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.8-22), number of current nephrotoxic medications (OR, 1.9; 95% CI, 1.3-2.9), and AA-CCI value (OR, 1.2; 95% CI, 1.0-1.5).


Routine postoperative BMPs are unwarranted for most patients undergoing primary TJA. Testing may be reserved for those with renal dysfunction, those taking multiple nephrotoxic medications, or those with a high AA-CCI value.

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