There is a paucity of data on how racial disparities may affect early outcomes following shoulder arthroplasty. The purpose of this study was to evaluate differences in 30-day complications and readmission rates after shoulder arthroplasty based on race. White and black patients who underwent hemiarthroplasty, anatomic or reverse total shoulder arthroplasty (Current Procedural Terminology codes 23470 and 23472) between 2006 and 2015 were identified in the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database. Black patients were propensity score matched 1:4 based on preoperative demographics and comorbidities to white patients. Multivariable analysis was performed to assess postoperative complications based on race. Of the 12,663 patients with shoulder arthroplasty identified, 10,717 (84.6%) were white and 559 (4.4%) were black. Overall, 557 black patients were matched to 2228 white patients, for a total cohort of 2785 patients (mean age, 63.9±11.7 years; female, 61.0%). Surgical indications were similar between black and white patients. The 2 races had similar rates of overall complications, major complications, minor complications, readmissions, and discharge to facility. Mortality was significantly higher among black patients compared with white patients (0.6% vs 0.05%; P=.033). Black patients also experienced longer operative time (mean, 126.4 vs 112.5 minutes; P<.001) and length of stay (mean, 2.4 vs 2.1 days; P<.001). There was a significant disparity with underutilization of shoulder arthroplasty for black patients in the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database. Black and white patients undergoing shoulder arthroplasty experienced similar rates of 30-day complications, readmissions, and discharge to facility. However, black patients experienced greater operative time, total length of stay, and mortality compared with white patients. [Orthopedics. 2019; 42(2):95-102.].
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