Postoperative morbidity and mortality in total joint arthroplasty: Exploring the limits of early discharge

Camilo Gutiérrez Rodríguez, María Alejandra Asmar Murgas, Abelardo Camacho Uribe, Valeria Barrios Diaz, Guillermo Bonilla León, Adolfo Llinás Volpe

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1 Scopus citations


Introduction: In order to enhance cost-effectiveness, shorter hospital stays have been adopted following hip or knee replacement surgery. This study seeks to describe the incidence of morbidity and mortality, five days after patients were taken to surgery with an expected hospital stay of four days. Methods: Utilizing an Institutional Joint Replacement database, a descriptive study was carried out using a retrospective cohort of 1233 procedures in 1100 patients between 2012 and 2016. These were followed up for three months to evaluate morbidity and mortality in the postoperative period. Results: Complications were classified as minor or major (these were defined as any adverse event that can threaten a patient's life or had the potential to result in readmission). Of the cohort, 18 (1.5%) patient procedures presented one or more major complications. On the first postoperative day 3 major complications occurred (including one death). On the second and third day, 4 major complications were registered each day. On the fourth day after surgery, there were no major complications. On the fifth day 1 major complication was identified. After patient discharge there were 6 major complications reported. Discussion: The balance between early discharge and out-of-hospital morbidity as well as the frequency of hospital readmission must be the basis to determine whether a patient's hospital stay should be reduced. According to our results, it seems to be safe to shorten hospital stay in young and healthy patients. Furthermore, only orthopedic teams that have minimal rates of outpatient complications and adhere to high standards of care should consider reducing hospital stay.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Orthopaedics and Trauma
StatePublished - Mar 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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