The Impact of Pre-Operative Healthcare Utilization on Complications, Readmissions, and Post-Operative Healthcare Utilization Following Total Joint Arthroplasty

Published:November 14, 2021DOI:



      Identifying risk factors for adverse outcomes and increased costs following total joint arthroplasty (TJA) is needed to ensure quality. The interaction between pre-operative healthcare utilization (pre-HU) and outcomes following TJA has not been fully characterized.


      This is a retrospective cohort study of patients undergoing elective, primary total hip arthroplasty (THA, N = 1785) or total knee arthroplasty (TKA, N = 2159) between 2015 and 2019 at a single institution. Pre-HU and post-operative healthcare utilization (post-HU) included non-elective healthcare utilization in the 90 days prior to and following TJA, respectively (emergency department, urgent care, observation admission, inpatient admission). Multivariate regression models including age, gender, American Society of Anesthesiologists, Medicaid status, and body mass index were fit for 30-day readmission, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services (CMS)-defined complications, length of stay, and post-HU.


      The 30-day readmission rate was 3.2% and 3.4% and the CMS-defined complication rate was 3.8% and 2.9% for THA and TKA, respectively. Multivariate regression showed that for THA, presence of any pre-HU was associated with increased risk of 30-day readmission (odds ratio [OR] 2.85, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.48-5.50, P = .002), CMS complications (OR 2.42, 95% CI 1.27-4.59, P = .007), and post-HU (OR 3.65, 95% CI 2.54-5.26, P < .001). For TKA, ≥2 pre-HU events were associated with increased risk of 30-day readmission (OR 3.52, 95% CI 1.17-10.61, P = .026) and post-HU (OR 2.64, 95% CI 1.29-5.40, P = .008). There were positive correlations for THA (any pre-HU) and TKA (≥2 pre-HU) with length of stay and number of post-HU events.


      Patients who utilize non-elective healthcare in the 90 days prior to TJA are at increased risk of readmission, complications, and unplanned post-HU.

      Level of Evidence

      Level III.


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