The effect of malnutrition on patients undergoing elective joint arthroplasty

J Arthroplasty. 2013 Sep;28(8 Suppl):21-4. doi: 10.1016/j.arth.2013.05.038. Epub 2013 Aug 30.


Malnutrition has been linked to serious complications in patients undergoing elective total joint arthroplasty (TJA). This study prospectively evaluated 2,161 patients undergoing elective TJA for malnutrition as defined by either an abnormal serum albumin or transferrin. The overall incidence of malnutrition was 8.5% (184 of 2,161) and the rate of overall complications in the malnourished group was 12% as compared to 2.9% in patients with normal parameters (P<0.0001). Malnutrition predicted serious complications involving hematoma formation, infection, renal and cardiac complications. Obesity, defined by a body mass index (BMI) of 30kg/m(2) was present in 42.9% of malnourished patients with a significantly higher complication rate in this cohort. Malnutrition remains prevalent in patients >55years-old undergoing TJA and is associated with a significant increase in post-operative complications.

Keywords: albumin; malnutrition; obesity; periprosthetic joint infection; total hip arthroplasty; total knee arthroplasty; transferrin.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement*
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Hip*
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Hematoma / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Malnutrition / complications*
  • Malnutrition / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / complications
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Serum Albumin / metabolism
  • Surgical Wound Infection / epidemiology*
  • Transferrin / metabolism
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers
  • Serum Albumin
  • Transferrin