Emergency Department Presentation After Total Hip and Knee Arthroplasty: A Systematic Review Journal Articles uri icon

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  • BACKGROUND: Recent changes to payment models for elective total joint arthroplasty (TJA) have led to increased interest in postdischarge health care utilization. Although readmission has historically been of primary interest, emergency department (ED) presentation is increasingly a point of focus. The purpose of this review was to summarize the available literature pertaining to ED visits after total hip arthroplasty and total knee arthroplasty. METHODS: PubMed, MEDLINE, and Embase were searched. Clinical studies reporting rate, reasons, and/or risk factors associated with ED presentation after TJA were included. Pooled return to ED rates were calculated using weighted means. RESULTS: Twenty-seven studies (n = 1,484,043) were included. After TJA, the mean 30-day and 90-day rates of ED presentation were 8.1% and 10.3%, respectively. Rates were slightly higher in total knee arthroplasty vs total hip arthroplasty patients at 30 days (11.5% vs 6.5%) and 90 days (10.8% vs 9.7%). The most common reasons for ED presentation after TJA were pain (4.6%-35%), medical concerns (5.6%-24.5%), and swelling (1.4%-17.5%). Studies analyzing the timing of ED visits found that most occurred within the first 2 weeks postdischarge. Black race and Medicaid/Medicare insurance coverage were identified as risk factors associated with ED visits. CONCLUSION: ED visits present a high burden for the health care system, as upward of 1 in 10 patients will return to the ED within 90 days of TJA. Future efforts should be made to develop cost-effective and patient-centered interventions that reduce preventable ED visits after TJA. As well, these rates should be taken into consideration when allocating resources for the care of TJA patients.


  • Maldonado-Rodriguez, Naomi
  • Ekhtiari, Seper
  • Khan, Moin
  • Ravi, Bheeshma
  • Gandhi, Rajiv
  • Veillette, Christian
  • Leroux, Timothy

publication date

  • October 2020