Background: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of psychological distress on hospital length of stay (LOS) in joint arthroplasty (TJA).
Methods: A retrospective review of 863 patients who underwent primary, unilateral TJA at a single tertiary academic center was performed. Two groups were compared: patients with or without psychological distress defined using the Short Form-12 mental component summary. The primary outcome was the rate of hospital LOS exceeding 2 days. Secondary outcomes were rates of in-hospital complications and 90-day emergency room visits and readmissions. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were performed.
Results: The prevalence of psychological distress was 23%. The mean LOS was 2.44 days. Patients with psychological distress were younger (P < .0001) and more likely to have depression (P < .0001), lower educational attainment (P < .0001), smoke tobacco (P = .003), be Hispanic/Latino (P = .001), live alone (P = .001), and have higher rates of nonprimary osteoarthritis (P < .0001). After adjusting for these differences, psychological distress was an independent predictor of LOS > 2 days (P = .049 and .006 for total hip arthroplasty [THA] and total knee arthroplasty [TKA], respectively). There were no differences in the rates of in-hospital complications (P = .913 and .782 for THA and TKA, respectively), emergency room visits (P = .467 and .355 for THA and TKA respectively), or readmissions (P = .118 and .334 for THA and TKA, respectively).
Conclusion: Psychological distress is an independent predictor of prolonged hospitalization after primary TJA. The Short Form-12 mental component summary is a good screening tool for identifying patients with poor mental health who may not be appropriate candidates for outpatient surgery. Efforts to address psychological distress before surgery are warranted.
Keywords: arthroplasty; hip; knee; length of stay; mental health; psychological distress.
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