Researchers have found that around three per cent of patients who leave hospital after hip and knee replacements also need critical care services, highlighting the risks involved in these elective surgeries for older patients that have other health problems such as diabetes .
The study, reported in the journal Anesthesiology, monitored data on over half a million patients receiving total knee or hip replacement surgery at 400 hospitals in the United States between 2006 and 2010. It revealed that the three per cent who needed follow-up critical care faced a higher mortality rate than those who didn’t, as well as needing to stay in hospital for longer, being less likely to return home after being discharged and meaning additional costs to healthcare services.
Also, it was found that patients over the age of 69 were at a higher risk of needing critical care services than younger patients, and were more likely to suffer from health problems such as diabetes, obesity and lung disease.
Lead author Stavros Memtsoudis, from the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, said “Orthopedic patients are not the prime type of patient that people expect in an [intensive care unit]. It is elective surgery after all.”
He added “Risk factors for needing critical care services are advanced age and existing coronary artery disease, diabetes, obesity and a number of other [preexisting conditions]. Unfortunately, this is the type of population that usually requires hip and knee replacements.”

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