A Fall Within 3 Months Before Total Joint Arthroplasty is Associated With Adverse Outcomes in Elderly Patients

Yash P. Chaudhry, Varun Puvanesarajah, Julius K. Oni, Robert S. Sterling, Harpal S. Khanuja

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Falls are associated with morbidity and death in the elderly. The consequences of falls after total joint arthroplasty (TJA) are known, but the consequences of preoperative falls are unclear. We assessed associations between preoperative fall history and hospital readmission rates and discharge disposition after primary TJA. Methods: We queried the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program Geriatric Pilot Project for cases of primary total hip arthroplasty (THA) (n = 3671) and total knee arthroplasty (TKA) (n = 6194) performed between 2014 and 2018 for patients aged ≥65 years. Patient characteristics, comorbidities, functional status indicators, and 30-day outcomes were compared among patients with falls occurring within 3 months, from >3 to 6 months, and from >6 to 12 months before surgery, and patients with no falls in the year before surgery. The timing of falls was assessed for independent associations with hospital readmission and discharge to a skilled care facility (SCF). Alpha = 0.05. Results: Patients who fell within 3 months before surgery had greater odds of SCF discharge (for THA, odds ratio [OR] 2.5, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.8-3.4; for TKA, OR 1.8, 95% CI 1.4-2.3) and hospital readmission (for THA, OR 1.8, 95% CI 1.1-3.0; for TKA, OR 2.4, 95% CI 1.6-3.5) compared with the no-fall cohort. No such associations were observed for the other two fall cohorts. Conclusion: Falls within 3 months before primary TJA are associated with SCF discharge and readmission for patients aged ≥65 years. Fall history screening should be included in preoperative evaluation. Level of Evidence: III.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1246-1250
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Arthroplasty
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2021


  • fall
  • geriatrics
  • hospital readmission
  • outcome
  • skilled care facility
  • total joint arthroplasty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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