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Am J Med. 1994 Sep;97(3):208-13.

Hip replacement and hip hemiarthroplasty surgery: potential opportunities to shorten lengths of hospital stay.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Cedars-Sinai Research Institute, UCLA School of Medicine 90048.


The potential safety and effectiveness of a practice guideline recommending a 5-day postoperative stay in the acute care hospital for hip surgery patients without clinical findings predictive of a complicated hospital course was studied retrospectively in 230 patients hospitalized for total hip replacement, total hip replacement with osteotomy, or hip hemiarthroplasty. Seventy percent of total hip replacement and hip hemiarthroplasty patients were classified as being at "low risk" for complications by the guideline (161 patients, or 73% of patients who remained hospitalized). Use of the guideline could have reduced the hospital length of stay from 8.4 days (standard deviation 3.3) to 5.9 days for these selected low-risk patients. Moreover, physicians' implicit review determined that 0% of patients (95% confidence interval, 0% to 2.3%) had a complication that would have benefited from continued stay in an acute care hospital after the fifth postoperative day. Our practice guideline may have the potential to safely reduce acute care hospital length of stay for patients recovering after total hip replacement and hip hemiarthroplasty. The guideline will require further study in a prospective clinical trial before it can be recommended for widespread use.

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