Total Joint Arthroplasty Patient Demographics Before and After Coronavirus Disease 2019 Elective Surgery Restrictions

Arthroplast Today. 2023 Apr:20:101081. doi: 10.1016/j.artd.2022.101081. Epub 2023 Jan 2.


Background: In 2020, the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic caused the cessation of nonemergent total joint arthroplasty (TJA, referring to total hip and total knee arthroplasty) operations between mid-March and April 2020. The purpose of this study is to analyze the effects and potential disparities in access to care due to the COVID-19 restrictions.

Methods: A database was used to examine the demographics of patients undergoing TJA from May to December 2019 (pre-COVID-19) and from May to December 2020 (post-COVID-19 restrictions). Categorical covariates were summarized by reporting counts and percentages and compared using Fisher exact tests. Continuous covariates were summarized by reporting means and standard deviations. Two-sample t-tests were used for continuous covariates. The equality of TJA counts by year was tested using a test of proportions.

Results: There were more TJA procedures performed during the post-COVID-19 period in 2020 than in the pre-COVID-19 period (1151 vs 882, P < .001). There was an increase in the relative percentage of THAs vs TKAs performed in 2020 vs 2019 (26.9% vs 18.8%, P < .001) and an increase in patients with Medicaid with a decrease in private insurance (P = .043). The average length of stay was shorter in 2020 with a greater percentage of TJAs performed outpatient (P < .001). There were no differences in patient sex, race, body mass index, smoking status, or age between the 2 periods.

Conclusions: A relative increase in THA procedures, an increase in patients with Medicaid and decrease in private insurance, and a a decreased length of stay were seen after COVID-19 restrictions. These trends may reflect pandemic-related changes in insurance status as well as the growing shift to same-day discharge.

Keywords: COVID-19; Demographics; THA; TJA; TKA.