Total joint arthroplasty (TJA) is one of the most successful and frequently performed procedures in the United States. The number of these procedures is projected to continue growing rapidly in the coming years, and with it comes the demand for more sophisticated perioperative risk and complication assessment. This study examines the effect of frailty on postoperative inpatient complications and hospital resource utilization after TJA.
Discharge data from the National Inpatient Sample were used to identify all patients aged 50 years or older who underwent TJA between 2006 and 2015. Nonelective admissions and hip fractures were excluded. Patients were stratified into two groups with and without concomitant ICD-9 diagnostic criteria that qualified them has having frailty. An analysis comparing the 2 groups' epidemiology, medical comorbidities, and propensity score-weighted postoperative clinical and economic outcomes was done.
A total of 7,854,890 TJAs were included in this analysis, with 136,516 meeting the criteria for frailty and 7,718,374 being nonfrail. Among these patients, the average age was 67.3 years and the female distribution was 61.1%. Frail patients were found to have markedly higher rates of all but two individual comorbidities constituting the Modified Elixhauser Profile compared with nonfrail patients. Compared with the control group, frail patients were found to have increased risk of any postoperative complication, central nervous system complications, hematoma/seroma, wound dehiscence, infection, and postoperative anemia. Frail patients also had longer length of stay, higher discharge to rehabilitation facilities, and higher hospital charges.
Patients with frailty undergoing TJA procedures are at a markedly higher risk for developing postoperative complications and worse hospital economic outcomes. As this patient population continues to increase, it is imperative for clinicians to use their risk factors in optimizing their perioperative care and support.