Early Discharge After Total Hip and Knee Arthroplasty—An Observational Cohort Study Evaluating Safety in 330,000 Patients
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BACKGROUND: There has been considerable interest in recent years for early discharge after arthroplasty. We endeavored to evaluate the safety of same-day discharge given the rapid uptake of this practice approach. METHODS: This is a retrospective observational cohort study of the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program registry database. We included patients who underwent total hip arthroplasty (THA) or total knee arthroplasty (TKA) between 2015 and 2018. We categorized length of stay (LOS) as same-day discharge (LOS = 0 days), accelerated discharge (LOS = 1 day), and routine discharge (LOS = 2-3 days). For each LOS cohort, we determined the incidence of major complications within 30 days (surgical site infection [SSI], reoperation, readmission, deep vein thrombosis [DVT], and PE) and evaluated risk using multivariate logistic regression analysis if incidence was >1%. Patients undergoing THA and TKA were evaluated independently. RESULTS: The final study cohort consisted of 333,212 patients, including 124,150 who underwent THA (37%) and 209,062 who had TKA (63%). In the THA same-day discharge cohort, the incidence of superficial SSI (0.2%), deep/organ space SSI (0.3%), DVT (0.2%), and PE (0.2%) was low. The risk of reoperation was comparable to routine discharge (odds ratio [OR], 0.82; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.61-1.09; P = .17) and readmission rate was significantly lower (OR, 0.60; 95% CI, 0.48-0.76; P < .001). The risk of reoperation and readmission was also lower in the accelerated discharge cohort compared to routine discharge. In the TKA same-day discharge cohort, the risk of superficial SSI (0.3%), deep/organ space SSI (0.3%), reoperation (0.8%), DVT (0.4%), and PE (0.5%) was low. The risk of readmission after same-day discharge was comparable to routine discharge (OR, 0.85; 95% CI, 0.71-1.01; P = .07). In the accelerated discharge cohort, there was a small reduction in readmission risk (OR, 0.87; 95% CI, 0.81-0.93; P < .001). CONCLUSION: This large, observational, real-world study suggests that same-day and accelerated discharge management is safe clinical practice for patients undergoing total joint arthroplasty, yielding a similar risk of major acute 30-day complications. Further clinical trials evaluating long-term major outcomes, including patient-reported outcomes and experiences, would offer further and definitive insight into this practice approach.