Background: The risk of perioperative stroke following cardiac and carotid artery surgery is well documented. There is an apparent lack of recognition and appreciation of this complication after total joint arthroplasty. The present study was designed to determine the prevalence of, and outcome after, perioperative stroke following total joint arthroplasty. In addition, risk factors for the development of this complication were evaluated in an attempt to identify a strategy that could minimize the prevalence of this complication.
Methods: We performed an observational study of 18,745 consecutive patients undergoing primary or revision total hip or total knee arthroplasty from 2000 to 2007 at our institution. The institutional perioperative stroke rate was 0.2% (thirty-six of 18,745). The thirty-six patients who had a stroke included seventeen men and nineteen women with a mean age of 68.2 years (range, forty-five to eighty-seven years). The average duration of follow-up for all patients and controls in the present study was sixty-two months (range, zero to 124.9 months). In a predictive model, different patient-related and surgery-related factors that could predispose patients to this complication and/or affect outcome were evaluated.
Results: The first-year mortality among stroke patients was 25% (nine of thirty-six), and four of these nine patients died in the hospital following total joint arthroplasty. Of three patients who received emergency intra-arterial thrombolysis, two had complete neurologic recovery and one died in the hospital. The final regression model showed that a history of noncoronary heart disease, urgent (versus elective) surgery, general (versus regional) anesthesia, and an intraoperative arrhythmia or other alterations in the heart rate during surgery are significant predictors of perioperative stroke.
Conclusions: Perioperative stroke is a rare but potentially devastating complication of total joint arthroplasty, with a high rate of morbidity and mortality. Vigilant attention to prevent, detect, and treat this complication in a timely manner may alter the course of the disease.
Level of Evidence: Prognostic Level II. See Instructions to Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.
1Rothman Institute of Orthopedics, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, 925 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107. E-mail address for R.H. Rothman: firstname.lastname@example.org