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Long-term mortality rates and associated risk factors following primary and revision knee arthroplasty

107,121 patients from the Scottish Arthroplasty Project

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The aim of this study was to determine the long-term mortality rate, and to identify factors associated with this, following primary and revision knee arthroplasty (KA).


Data from the Scottish Arthroplasty Project (1998 to 2019) were retrospectively analyzed. Patient mortality data were linked from the National Records of Scotland. Analyses were performed separately for the primary and revised KA cohorts. The standardized mortality ratio (SMR) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) was calculated for the population at risk. Multivariable Cox proportional hazards were used to identify predictors and estimate relative mortality risks.


At a median 7.4 years (interquartile range (IQR) 4.0 to 11.6) follow-up, 27.8% of primary (n = 27,474/98,778) and 31.3% of revision (n = 2,611/8,343) KA patients had died. Both primary and revision cohorts had lower mortality rates than the general population (SMR 0.74 (95% CI 0.73 to 0.74); p < 0.001; SMR 0.83 (95% CI 0.80 to 0.86); p < 0.001, respectively), which persisted for 12 and eighteight years after surgery, respectively. Factors associated with increased risk of mortality after primary KA included male sex (hazard ratio (HR) 1.40 (95% CI 1.36 to 1.45)), increasing socioeconomic deprivation (HR 1.43 (95% CI 1.36 to 1.50)), inflammatory polyarthropathy (HR 1.79 (95% CI 1.68 to 1.90)), greater number of comorbidities (HR 1.59 (95% CI 1.51 to 1.68)), and periprosthetic joint infection (PJI) requiring revision (HR 1.92 (95% CI 1.57 to 2.36)) when adjusting for age. Similarly, male sex (HR 1.36 (95% CI 1.24 to 1.49)), increasing socioeconomic deprivation (HR 1.31 (95% CI 1.12 to 1.52)), inflammatory polyarthropathy (HR 1.24 (95% CI 1.12 to 1.37)), greater number of comorbidities (HR 1.64 (95% CI 1.33 to 2.01)), and revision for PJI (HR 1.35 (95% 1.18 to 1.55)) were independently associated with an increased risk of mortality following revision KA when adjusting for age.


The SMR of patients undergoing primary and revision KA was lower than that of the general population and remained so for several years post-surgery. However, approximately one in four patients undergoing primary and one in three patients undergoing revision KA died within tenten years of surgery. Several patient and surgical factors, including PJI, were associated with the risk of mortality within ten years of primary and revision surgery.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2022;104-B(1):45–52.

Correspondence should be sent to Liam Zen Yapp. E-mail:

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