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J Arthroplasty. 2008 Sep;23(6 Suppl 1):139-45. doi: 10.1016/j.arth.2008.05.011.

In hospital complications after total joint arthroplasty.

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  • 1Rothman Institute of Orthopaedics at Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.


Total joint arthroplasty is a safe and successful procedure. However, numerous complications may present after elective arthroplasty. This study prospectively collected data on systemic and local in hospital complications after 15383 joint arthroplasties, which included 8230 total hip arthroplasties and 7153 total knee arthroplasties. In general, the incidence of complications was higher after knee arthroplasty, simultaneous bilateral surgery, and revision surgery. There were 22 (0.16%) deaths in this cohort. We identified 486 major systemic complications, the most common was pulmonary embolism (152), followed by tachyarrhythmia (92) and acute myocardial infarction (36). There were 109 major local complications, including 16 vascular injuries, 29 peripheral nerve injuries, 25 periprosthetic fractures, and 18 dislocations. Total joint arthroplasty, despite its success, can be associated with rare serious and life-threatening complications. This study provides a baseline of complications that can occur after elective joint arthroplasty.

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