Postoperative Morbidity and Mortality in Diabetic Patients After Fast-Track Hip and Knee Arthroplasty: A Prospective Follow-up Cohort of 36,762 Procedures

Milla Ortved, Pelle B Petersen, Christoffer C Jørgensen, Henrik Kehlet, Lundbeck Foundation Center for Fast-Track Hip and Knee Replacement Collaborative Group (Kirill Gromov, Søren Solgaard, Jens Bagger members)


BACKGROUND: Diabetes increases the risk of adverse outcomes in surgical procedures, including total hip and knee arthroplasty (THA/TKA), and the prevalence of diabetic patients undergoing these procedures is high, ranging from approximately 8% to 20%. However, there is still a need to clarify the role of diabetes and antihyperglycemic treatment in a fast-track THA/TKA setting, which otherwise may decrease morbidity. Consequently, we investigated the association between diabetes and antihyperglycemic treatment on length of stay (LOS) and complications following fast-track THA/TKA within a multicenter fast-track collaboration.

METHODS: We used an observational study design on data from a prospective multicenter fast-track collaboration on unselected elective primary THA/TKA from 2010 to 2017. Complete follow-up (>99%) was achieved through The Danish National Patient Registry, antihyperglycemic treatment established through the Danish National Database of Reimbursed Prescriptions and types of complications leading to LOS >4 days, 90-day readmission or mortality obtained by scrutinizing health records and discharge summaries. Patients were categorized as nondiabetic and if diabetic into insulin-, orally, and dietary-treated diabetic patients.

RESULTS: A total of 36,762 procedures were included, of which 837 (2.3%) had insulin-treated diabetes, 2615 (7.1%) orally treated diabetes, and 566 (1.5%) dietary-treated diabetes. Overall median LOS was 2 (interquartile range [IQR]: 1-3) days, and mean LOS was 2.4 (standard deviation [SD], 2.5) days. The proportion of patients with LOS >4 days was 6.0% for nondiabetic patients, 14.7% for insulin-treated, 9.4% for orally treated, and 9.5% for dietary-treated diabetic patients. Pharmacologically treated diabetes (versus nondiabetes) was independently associated with increased odds of LOS >4 days (insulin-treated: odds ratio [OR], 2.2 [99.6% confidence interval {CI}, 1.3-3.7], P< .001; orally treated: OR, 1.5 [99.6% CI, 1.0-2.1]; P= .002). Insulin-treated diabetes was independently associated with increased odds of "diabetes-related" morbidity (OR, 2.3 [99.6% CI, 1.2-4.2]; P < .001). Diabetic patients had increased renal complications regardless of antihyperglycemic treatment, but only insulin-treated patients suffered significantly more cardiac complications than nondiabetic patients. There was no increase in periprosthetic joint infections or mortality associated with diabetes.

CONCLUSIONS: Patients with pharmacologically treated diabetes undergoing fast-track THA/TKA were at increased odds of LOS >4 days. Although complication rates were low, patients with insulin-treated diabetes were at increased odds of postoperative complications compared to nondiabetic patients and to their orally treated counterparts. Further investigation into the pathogenesis of postoperative complications differentiated by antihyperglycemic treatment is needed.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAnesthesia and Analgesia
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)115-122
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2021


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