Does Increasing Patient Complexity Have an Effect on Medical Outcomes and Lengths-of-Stay after Total Knee Arthroplasty?

Publication Date


Journal Title

J Knee Surg


A greater number of medically complex patients with multiple comorbidities are now more readily considered for total knee arthroplasty (TKA). Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine whether comorbidity burden, measured with the Elixhauser Comorbidity Index (ECI), correlated with 90-day medical complications and longer in-hospital lengths-of-stay (LOS) in TKA patients. The PearlDiver supercomputer was queried for all primary TKA patients in the Medicare Standard Analytic Files from 2005 to 2014 using International Classification of Disease, 9th edition codes. Patients were included based on ECI scores, ranging from 1 to 5. ECI 1 patients served as the control cohort, while ECI 2, 3, 4, and 5 patients were considered study cohorts. Each study cohort was matched based on age and gender to the control cohort, resulting in a total of 715,398 patients included for analysis (ECI 1, n = 144,072; ECI 2, n = 144,072; ECI 3, n = 144,072; ECI 4, n = 144,072; ECI 5, n = 139,110). Logistic regression analyses were performed to compare 90-day medical complications and Welch's t-tests were performed to compare LOS between the cohorts. Patients with higher ECI scores were more likely to develop medical complications and have longer LOS compared with matched patients in the control cohort. Compared with matched ECI 1 patients, patients with ECI scores of 2 (odds ratio [OR]: 1.19, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.14-1.24), 3 (OR: 1.27, 95% CI: 1.21-1.32), 4 (OR: 1.32, 95% CI: 1.27-1.38), and 5 (OR: 1.33, 95% CI: 1.27-1.39) were significantly more likely to develop 90-day medical complications. Additionally, the mean LOS of patients in the ECI 2 (2.59 ± 1.49 vs. 2.73 ± 1.52 days), ECI 3 (2.59 ± 1.49 vs. 2.88 ± 1.51 days; p < 0.001), ECI 4 (2.59 ± 1.49 vs. 3.01 ± 1.56 days; p < 0.001), and ECI 5 (2.61 ± 1.49 vs. 3.14 ± 1.61 days; p < 0.001) groups were significantly longer than the mean LOS in the control ECI 1 group. In an increasingly complex patient population, associations between comorbidities and outcomes after TKA procedures can guide providers on how to modify their pre- and postoperative care. These results demonstrate that higher ECI scores are associated with a greater likelihood of 90-day medical complications and longer in-hospital LOS.

Document Type



Faculty, Northwell Researcher, Northwell Resident


School of Medicine; Northwell Health

Primary Department

Orthopedic Surgery





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