Access to elective total knee arthroplasty is important in the treatment of end-stage arthritis, and numerous initiatives, including Medicaid expansion, have sought to improve patients’ ability to undergo this procedure. However, despite this, the role of Medicaid insurance in patient outcomes remains unclear. The purpose of this study was to perform a systematic review of the literature to explore the relationship between preoperative Medicaid insurance status and outcomes following primary total knee arthroplasty.
A systematic review was performed according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines to identify studies examining outcomes in patients who had Medicaid and were undergoing total knee arthroplasty. Studies including complex revision operations or less common indications for total knee arthroplasty were excluded. Data on insurance status, postoperative complications, length of stay, readmissions, and subsequent revision surgical procedures were collected for each article.
A total of 13 studies showing 6.18 million patients undergoing total knee arthroplasty were included in the qualitative synthesis. Seven analyses described an important association between Medicaid coverage and short-term readmissions, and 2 analyses showed a relationship between Medicaid and prolonged length of stay. However, the included studies did not describe a significant association between Medicaid and postoperative mortality or revision rates.
Patients with Medicaid undergoing total knee arthroplasty may be more likely to experience an increased length of stay and to be readmitted postoperatively. The unique factors associated with these patients may help to inform customized perioperative surveillance and optimization to improve outcomes in this group.
Level of Evidence:
Prognostic Level IV. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.