It is unclear whether simultaneous-bilateral total knee arthroplasty is as safe as staged-bilateral arthroplasty is. We are aware of no randomized trials comparing the safety of these surgical strategies. The purpose of this study was to retrospectively compare these two strategies, with use of an intention-to-treat approach for the staged-bilateral arthroplasty cohort.Methods:
We used linked hospital discharge data to compare the safety of simultaneous-bilateral and staged-bilateral knee arthroplasty procedures performed in California between 1997 and 2007. Estimates were generated to take into account patients who had planned to undergo staged-bilateral arthroplasty but never underwent the second procedure because of death, a major complication, or elective withdrawal. Hierarchical logistic regression modeling was used to adjust the comparisons for patient and hospital characteristics. The principal outcomes of interest were death, a major complication involving the cardiovascular system, and a periprosthetic knee infection or mechanical malfunction requiring revision surgery.Results:
Records were available for 11,445 simultaneous-bilateral arthroplasty procedures and 23,715 staged-bilateral procedures. On the basis of an intermediate estimate of the number of complications that occurred after the first procedure in a staged-bilateral arthroplasty, patients who underwent simultaneous-bilateral arthroplasty had a significantly higher adjusted odds ratio (OR) of myocardial infarction (OR = 1.6, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.2 to 2.2) and of pulmonary embolism (OR = 1.4, 95% CI = 1.1 to 1.8), similar odds of death (OR = 1.3, 95% CI = 0.9 to 1.9) and of ischemic stroke (OR = 1.0, 95% CI = 0.6 to 1.6), and significantly lower odds of major joint infection (OR = 0.6, 95% CI = 0.5 to 0.7) and of major mechanical malfunction (OR = 0.7, 95% CI = 0.6 to 0.9) compared with patients who planned to undergo staged-bilateral arthroplasty. The unadjusted thirty-day incidence of death or a coronary event was 3.2 events per thousand patients higher after simultaneous-bilateral arthroplasty than after staged-bilateral arthroplasty, but the one-year incidence of major joint infection or major mechanical malfunction was 10.5 events per thousand lower after simultaneous-bilateral arthroplasty.Conclusions:
Simultaneous-bilateral total knee arthroplasty was associated with a clinically important reduction in the incidence of periprosthetic joint infection and malfunction within one year after arthroplasty, but it was associated with a moderately higher risk of an adverse cardiovascular outcome within thirty days. If patients who are at higher risk for cardiovascular complications can be identified, simultaneous-bilateral knee arthroplasty may be the preferred surgical strategy for the remaining lower-risk patients.Level of Evidence:
Therapeutic Level III. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.