Scientific Articles   |    
Unplanned Readmission After Total Joint Arthroplasty: Rates, Reasons, and Risk Factors
Benjamin Zmistowski, BS1; Camilo Restrepo, MD1; Jordan Hess, BS1; Darius Adibi, BA1; Soltan Cangoz, BS1; Javad Parvizi, MD, FRCS1
1 Rothman Institute of Orthopedics, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, 925 Chestnut Street, 5th Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19107. E-mail address for J. Parvizi: research@rothmaninstitute.com
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Investigation performed at the Rothman Institute of Orthopedics, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Disclosure: None of the authors received payments or services, either directly or indirectly (i.e., via his or her institution), from a third party in support of any aspect of this work. One or more of the authors, or his or her institution, has had a financial relationship, in the thirty-six months prior to submission of this work, with an entity in the biomedical arena that could be perceived to influence or have the potential to influence what is written in this work. No author has had any other relationships, or has engaged in any other activities, that could be perceived to influence or have the potential to influence what is written in this work. The complete Disclosures of Potential Conflicts of Interest submitted by authors are always provided with the online version of the article.

Copyright © 2013 by The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc.
J Bone Joint Surg Am, 2013 Oct 16;95(20):1869-1876. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.L.00679
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There has been a major and alarming increase in readmission rates following total joint arthroplasty. With proposed changes in reimbursement policy, increased rates of unplanned readmission following arthroplasty will penalize providers. In particular, it has been proposed that specific complications—so-called “zero-tolerance” complications—are unacceptable and that their treatment will not qualify for reimbursement. The purpose of this study was to identify the incidence, causes, and risk factors for readmission following total joint arthroplasty.


An institutional arthroplasty database was utilized to identify those patients undergoing total knee or hip arthroplasty from January 2004 through December 2008. A total of 10,633 admissions for primary arthroplasty (5207 knees and 5426 hips) were identified. The same database was used to identify patients requiring an unplanned readmission within ninety days of discharge. Multivariate logistic regression was utilized to determine the independent predictors of readmission within ninety days.


There were 591 unplanned readmissions within ninety days of discharge following 564 (5.3%) of the 10,633 admissions for total joint arthroplasty. The most common cause of readmission was joint-related infection, followed by stiffness. Black race, male sex, discharge to inpatient rehabilitation, increased duration of hospital stay, unilateral replacement, decreased age, decreased distance between home and the hospital, and total knee replacement were independent predictors of readmission within ninety days.


The high incidence of readmissions secondary to potential “zero-tolerance” events suggests that these are not easily preventable complications. In addition, longer hospitalization and discharge to an inpatient continued-care facility increased the risk of readmission.

Level of Evidence: 

Therapeutic Level IV. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

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    These activities have been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint sponsorship of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
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