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Orthostatic intolerance after fast-track knee arthroplasty: Incidence and hemodynamic pathophysiology

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BACKGROUND: Early postoperative mobilization can be hindered by orthostatic intolerance (OI) due to failed orthostatic cardiovascular regulation. The underlying mechanisms are not fully understood and specific data after total knee arthroplasty (TKA) are lacking. Therefore, we evaluated the incidence of OI and the cardiovascular response to mobilization in fast-track TKA.

METHODS: This prospective observational cohort study included 45 patients scheduled for primary TKA in spinal anesthesia with a multimodal opioid-sparing analgesic regime. OI and the cardiovascular response to sitting and standing were evaluated with a standardized mobilization procedure preoperatively, and at 6 and 24 h postoperatively. Hemodynamic variables were measured non-invasively (LiDCO™ Rapid). Perioperative bleeding, fluid balance, surgery duration, postoperative hemoglobin, opioid use, and pain during mobilization were recorded.

RESULTS: Eighteen (44%) and 8 (22%) patients demonstrated OI at 6 and 24 h after surgery, respectively. Four (10%) and 2 (5%) patients experienced severe OI and terminated the mobilization procedure prematurely. Dizziness was the most common OI symptom during mobilization at 6 h. OI was associated with decreased orthostatic responses in systolic, diastolic, mean arterial pressures, and heart rate (all p < .05), while severe OI patients demonstrated impaired diastolic, mean arterial pressures, heart rate, and cardiac output responses (all p < .05). No statistically significant differences in perioperative bleeding, fluid balance, surgery duration, postoperative hemoglobin, pain, or opioid use were observed between orthostatic tolerant and intolerant patients.

CONCLUSION: Early postoperative OI is common following fast-track TKA. Pathophysiologic mechanisms include impaired orthostatic cardiovascular responses. The progression to severe OI symptoms appears to be primarily due to inadequate heart rate response.

Original languageEnglish
JournalActa Anaesthesiologica Scandinavica
Volume66
Issue number8
Pages (from-to)934-943
Number of pages10
ISSN0001-5172
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2022

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