The primary aim was to assess the rate of postoperative COVID-19 following hip and knee arthroplasty performed in March 2020 in the UK. The secondary aims were to assess whether there were clinical factors associated with COVID-19 status, the mortality rate of patients with COVID-19, and the rate of potential COVID-19 in patients not presenting to healthcare services.
A multicentre retrospective study was conducted of patients undergoing hip or knee arthroplasty during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic (1 March 2020 to 31 March 2020) with a minimum of 60 days follow-up. Patient demographics, American Society of Anesthesiologists grade, procedure type, primary or revision, length of stay (LOS), COVID-19 test status, and postoperative mortality were recorded. A subgroup of patients (n = 211) who had not presented to healthcare services after discharge were contacted and questioned as to whether they had symptoms of COVID-19.
Five (0.5%) of 1,073 patients who underwent hip or knee arthroplasty tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 postoperatively. When adjusting for confounding factors, increasing LOS (p = 0.022) was the only significant factor associated with developing COVID-19 following surgery and a stay greater than three days was a reliable predictor with an area under the curve of 81% (p = 0.018). There were three (0.3%) deaths in the study cohort and the overall mortality rate attributable to COVID-19 was 0.09% (n = 1/1,073), with one (20%) of the five patients with COVID-19 dying postoperatively. Of the 211 patients contacted, two had symptoms within two to 14 days postoperatively with a positive predictive value of 31% and it was therefore estimated that one patient may have had undiagnosed COVID-19.
The rate of postoperative COVID-19 was 0.5% and may have been as high as 1% when accounting for those patients not presenting to healthcare services, which was similar to the estimated population prevalence during the study period. The overall mortality rate secondary to COVID-19 was low (0.09%), however the mortality rate for those patients developing COVID-19 was 20%.
Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2021;103-B(4):681–688.