Medicare total knee replacements can be safely discharged within 24 hours: study — 4 key points

A new study published in the Journal of Arthroplasty examined the safety of rapid discharge for Medicare-eligible patients after total knee replacement.

The study authors examined 2,287 patients who underwent total knee replacement from Jan. 1, 2013 to Dec. 31, 2015. All patients were 65 years old or older and 1,502 were discharged within one day of surgery. The study authors found:

1. Short-stay patients and those who spent two or more days at the hospital following total knee replacement had similar 30 day readmission rates; the short-stay patients reported 1.1 percent readmission rate, compared to 2.7 percent of traditional-stay patients.

2. Unplanned 90-day readmissions were higher among the traditional-stay patients, 3.6 percent, compared with the short-stay patients, 1.7 percent. However, the study notes the short stay patients had favorable demographics when compared with the traditional-stay group.

3. None of the demographic factors studied had an impact on 30-day readmission rates for either group. However, age had an impact on 90-day readmissions in the short-stay group.

4. Study authors concluded, "Our results suggest that the Medicare patients meeting discharge criteria and discharge home within a day of TKA do not have an increased risk of 30-day and 90-day readmission."

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