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Same-day and delayed hospital discharge are associated with worse outcomes following total knee arthroplasty

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To evaluate the influence of discharge timing on 30-day complications following total knee arthroplasty (TKA).

Patients and Methods

We identified patients aged 18 years or older who underwent TKA between 2005 and 2016 from the American College of Surgeons’ National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP) database. We propensity score-matched length-of-stay (LOS) groups using all relevant covariables. We used multivariable regression to determine if the rate of complications and re-admissions differed depending on LOS.


Our matched cohort consisted of 76 246 TKA patients (mean age 67 years (sd 9)). Patients whose LOS was zero and four days had an increased risk of major complications by an odds ratio (OR) of 1.8 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.0 to 3.2) and 1.5 (95% CI 1.2 to 1.7), respectively, compared with patients whose LOS was two days. Patients whose LOS was zero, three, and four days had an increased risk of minor complications (OR 1.8 (95% CI 1.3 to 2.7), 1.2 (95% CI 1.0 to 1.4), and 1.6 (95% CI 1.4 to 1.9), respectively), compared with patients whose LOS was two days. In addition, a LOS of three days increased the risk of re-admission by an OR of 1.2 (95% CI 1.0 to 1.3), and a LOS of four days increased the risk of re-admission by an OR of 1.5 (95% CI 1.3 to 1.6), compared with a LOS of two days.


Patients discharged on days one to two postoperatively following TKA appear to have reduced major and minor complications compared with discharge on the day of surgery, or on days three to four. Prospective clinical data are required to confirm these findings.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2019;101-B(7 Supple C):70–76

Correspondence should be sent to L. L. Nowak; email:

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