A systematic review and meta-analysis of short-stay programmes for total hip and knee replacement, focusing on safety and optimal patient selection

Danielle Berkovic (Leading Author), Patrick Vallance, Ian A. Harris, Justine M. Naylor, Peter L. Lewis, Richard de Steiger, Rachelle Buchbinder, Zanfina Ademi, Sze Ee Soh, Ilana N. Ackerman (Leading Author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Background: Short-stay joint replacement programmes are used in many countries but there has been little scrutiny of safety outcomes in the literature. We aimed to systematically review evidence on the safety of short-stay programmes versus usual care for total hip (THR) and knee replacement (KR), and optimal patient selection. Methods: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and quasi-experimental studies including a comparator group reporting on 14 safety outcomes (hospital readmissions, reoperations, blood loss, emergency department visits, infection, mortality, neurovascular injury, other complications, periprosthetic fractures, postoperative falls, venous thromboembolism, wound complications, dislocation, stiffness) within 90 days postoperatively in adults ≥ 18 years undergoing primary THR or KR were included. Secondary outcomes were associations between patient demographics or clinical characteristics and patient outcomes. Four databases were searched between January 2000 and May 2023. Risk of bias and certainty of the evidence were assessed. Results: Forty-nine studies were included. Based upon low certainty RCT evidence, short-stay programmes may not reduce readmission (OR 0.95, 95% CI 0.12–7.43); blood transfusion requirements (OR 1.75, 95% CI 0.27–11.36); neurovascular injury (OR 0.31, 95% CI 0.01–7.92); other complications (OR 0.63, 95% CI 0.26–1.53); or stiffness (OR 1.04, 95% CI 0.53–2.05). For registry studies, there was no difference in readmission, infection, neurovascular injury, other complications, venous thromboembolism, or wound complications but there were reductions in mortality and dislocations. For interrupted time series studies, there was no difference in readmissions, reoperations, blood loss volume, emergency department visits, infection, mortality, or neurovascular injury; reduced odds of blood transfusion and other complications, but increased odds of periprosthetic fracture. For other observational studies, there was an increased risk of readmission, no difference in blood loss volume, infection, other complications, or wound complications, reduced odds of requiring blood transfusion, reduced mortality, and reduced venous thromboembolism. One study examined an outcome relevant to optimal patient selection; it reported comparable blood loss for short-stay male and female participants (p = 0.814). Conclusions: There is low certainty evidence that short-stay programmes for THR and KR may have non-inferior 90-day safety outcomes. There is little evidence on factors informing optimal patient selection; this remains an important knowledge gap.

Original languageEnglish
Article number511
Number of pages33
JournalBMC Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 21 Dec 2023


  • Enhanced recovery after surgery
  • Fast-track
  • Hip arthroplasty
  • Hip replacement
  • Knee arthroplasty
  • Knee replacement
  • Models of care
  • Safety
  • Short-stay joint replacement
  • Systematic review

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