The National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP) database contains more than a half-million records of patients who received a total knee arthroplasty (TKA), unicompartmental knee arthroplasty (UKA), or total hip arthroplasty (THA) from 2009 through 2018. Fewer than 4% of those procedures were done in an outpatient setting, but patient demand for outpatient arthroplasty is rising rapidly.
With retrospective data like that from NSQIP, the most meaningful comparisons between inpatient and outpatient procedures come through a propensity score-matched analysis. Propensity score matching pairs up patients in each group according to multiple factors thought to influence outcome. In a recent study in The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery, Lan et al. used propensity score matching to compare inpatient and outpatient arthroplasty in terms of adverse events and readmissions.
What the Researchers Did:
- Matched each outpatient case of TKA, UKA, and THA from the database with 4 unique inpatient cases based on age, sex, ASA class, race, BMI, type of anesthesia, and history of hypertension, smoking, congestive heart failure, and diabetes
- Compared inpatient vs outpatient rates of 30-day adverse events (both minor and severe) and readmissions
- Identified risk factors for adverse events and readmissions
What the Researchers Found:
- For all 3 arthroplasty types, patients who underwent an outpatient procedure were less likely to experience any adverse event, when compared with those who underwent an inpatient procedure.
- The above adverse-event findings held true when TKAs, UKAs, and THAs were analyzed separately.
- Outpatient procedure status was an independent protective factor against the risk of adverse events.
- For all 3 procedures, readmission rates were similar among inpatients and outpatients. (The 2 most common reasons for readmission were infections and thromboembolic events.)
- Clinicians are probably (and reasonably) selecting healthier patients to undergo outpatient procedures, but 42% of the outpatient cohort had an ASA class ≥3, and 55% had a BMI ≥30 kg/m2.
In their abstract, the authors cited “increased case throughput” as one rationale for outpatient arthroplasty, but this study provides convincing evidence that adverse-event reduction is another compelling reason for certain patients to consider outpatient knee and hip procedures.