This study aimed to compare risk of postdischarge adverse events in elective total joint arthroplasty (TJA) patients by discharge destination, identify risk factors for inpatient discharge placement and postdischarge adverse events, and stratify TJA patients based on these risk factors to identify the most appropriate discharge destination.
Patients who underwent elective primary total hip or knee arthroplasty from 2011 to 2013 were identified in the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database. Bivariate and multivariate analyses were assessed using perioperative variables.
A total of 106,360 TJA patients were analyzed. The most common discharge destinations included home (70%), skilled nursing facility (SNF) (19%), and inpatient rehabilitation facility (IRF; 11%). Bivariate analysis revealed that rates of postdischarge adverse events were higher in SNF and IRF patients (all P ≤ .001). In multivariate analysis controlling for patient characteristics, comorbidities, and incidence of complication predischarge, SNF and IRF patients were more likely to have postdischarge severe adverse events (SNF: odds ratio [OR]: 1.46, P ≤ .001; IRF: OR: 1.59, P ≤ .001) and unplanned readmission (SNF: OR: 1.42, P ≤ .001; IRF: OR: 1.38, P ≤ .001). After stratifying patients by strongest independent risk factors (OR: ≥1.15, P ≤ .05) for adverse outcomes after discharge, we found that home discharge is the optimal strategy for minimizing rate of severe 30-day adverse events after discharge (P ≤ .05 for 5 out of 6 risk levels) and unplanned 30-day readmissions (P ≤ .05 for 6 out of 7 risk levels). Multivariate analysis revealed incidence of severe adverse events predischarge, female gender, functional status, body mass index >40, smoking, diabetes, pulmonary disease, hypertension, and American Society of Anesthesiologists class 3/4 as independent predictors of nonhome discharge (all P ≤ .001).
SNF or IRF discharge increases the risk of postdischarge adverse events compared to home. Modifiable risk factors for nonhome discharge and postdischarge adverse events should be addressed preoperatively to improve patient outcomes across discharge settings.