Thirty-day readmissions and reoperations after total elbow arthroplasty: a national database study

Holt S. Cutler, Garen Collett, Farzam Farahani, Juhno Ahn, Paul Nakonezny, Daniel Koehler, Michael Khazzam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background: The purpose of this study was to determine the rate of short-term complications after total elbow arthroplasty (TEA) and identify predictors of readmission and reoperation. We hypothesized that TEA performed for acute elbow trauma would have higher rates of 30-day readmission and reoperation than TEA performed for osteoarthritis (OA). Methods: Using the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program for the years 2011-2017, we identified patients undergoing TEA for fracture, OA, or inflammatory arthritis. Patient demographic characteristics, comorbidities, reoperations, and readmissions within 30 days of surgery were analyzed. Potential predictors of reoperation and readmission in the model included age, sex, race, body mass index (BMI), diabetes, hypertension, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, congestive heart failure, smoking, bleeding disorders, American Society of Anesthesiologists classification, wound classification, operative time, and indication for surgery. Results: A total of 414 patients underwent TEA from 2011-2017. Of these patients, 40.6% underwent TEA for fracture; 37.0%, for OA; and 22.7%, for inflammatory arthritis. The overall rate of unplanned readmissions was 5.1% (21 patients). The rate of unplanned reoperations was 2.4% (10 patients). Infection was the most common reason for both unplanned readmissions and reoperations. The rates of reoperations and readmissions were not significantly associated with any of the 3 operative indications: fracture, OA, or inflammatory arthritis. Multiple logistic regression analysis found increased BMI to be associated with lower odds of an unplanned readmission (odds ratio [OR], 0.883; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.798-0.963; P = .0035) and found wound classification ≥ 3 to be associated with increased odds of an unplanned reoperation (OR, 16.531; 95% CI, 1.300-167.960; P = .0144) and total local complications (OR, 17.587; 95% CI, 2.207-132.019; P = .0057). Patients who were not functionally independent were more likely to experience local complications (OR, 4.181; 95% CI, 0.983-15.664; P = .0309) than were functionally independent patients. Conclusions: The 30-day unplanned reoperation rate after TEA was 2.4%, and the unplanned readmission rate was 5.1%. Low BMI was predictive of readmission. Wounds classified as contaminated or dirty were predictive of reoperation. Dependent functional status and contaminated wounds were predictive of local complications. The indication for TEA (fracture vs. OA vs. inflammatory arthritis) was not found to be a risk factor for reoperation or readmission after TEA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e41-e49
JournalJournal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • Level IV
  • Retrospective Case Series Using Large Database
  • Total elbow arthroplasty
  • Treatment Study
  • elbow inflammatory arthritis
  • elbow replacement
  • elbow trauma
  • readmissions
  • short-term outcomes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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