Background: Many orthopaedic surgical procedures can be performed with either regional or general anesthesia. We hypothesized that total hip arthroplasty with regional anesthesia is associated with less postoperative morbidity and mortality than total hip arthroplasty with general anesthesia.
Methods: This retrospective propensity-matched cohort study utilizing the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP) database included patients who had undergone total hip arthroplasty from 2007 through 2011. After matching, logistic regression was used to determine the association between the type of anesthesia and deep surgical site infections, hospital length of stay, thirty-day mortality, and cardiovascular and pulmonary complications.
Results: Of 12,929 surgical procedures, 5103 (39.5%) were performed with regional anesthesia. The adjusted odds for deep surgical site infections were significantly lower in the regional anesthesia group than in the general anesthesia group (odds ratio [OR] = 0.38; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.20 to 0.72; p < 0.01). The hospital length of stay (geometric mean) was decreased by 5% (95% CI = 3% to 7%; p < 0.001) with regional anesthesia, which translates to 0.17 day for each total hip arthroplasty. Regional anesthesia was also associated with a 27% decrease in the odds of prolonged hospitalization (OR = 0.73; 95% CI = 0.68 to 0.89; p < 0.001). The mortality rate was not significantly lower with regional anesthesia (OR = 0.78; 95% CI = 0.43 to 1.42; p > 0.05). The adjusted odds for cardiovascular complications (OR = 0.61; 95% CI = 0.44 to 0.85) and respiratory complications (OR = 0.51; 95% CI = 0.33 to 0.81) were all lower in the regional anesthesia group.
Conclusions: Compared with general anesthesia, regional anesthesia for total hip arthroplasty was associated with a reduction in deep surgical site infection rates, hospital length of stay, and rates of postoperative cardiovascular and pulmonary complications. These findings could have an important medical and economic impact on health-care practice.
Level of Evidence: Therapeutic Level III. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.
1Department of Anesthesiology (M.A.H., M.S.A., A.B.A., D.J.K., and H.A.K.), Department of Orthopedic Surgery (J.C.C.), and Department of Surgery (B.L.H.), Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine, 660 South Euclid Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63110. E-mail address for M.A. Helwani: email@example.com