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Mudumbai SC, Chung P, Nguyen N, Harris B, Clark JD, Wagner TH, Giori NJ, Stafford RS, Mariano ER. Perioperative Opioid Prescribing Patterns and Readmissions After Total Knee Arthroplasty in a National Cohort of Veterans Health Administration Patients. Pain medicine (Malden, Mass.). 2020 Mar 1; 21(3):595-603.
OBJECTIVE: Among Veterans Health Administration (VHA) patients who undergo total knee arthroplasty (TKA) nationally, what are the underlying readmission rates and associations with perioperative opioid use, and are there associations with other factors such as preoperative health care utilization? METHODS: We retrospectively examined the records of 5,514 TKA patients (primary N? = 4,955, 89.9%; revision N? = 559, 10.1%) over one fiscal year (October 1, 2010-September 30, 2011) across VHA hospitals nationwide. Opioid use was classified into no opioids, tramadol only, short-acting only, or any long-acting. We measured readmission within 30?days and the number of days to readmission within 30?days. Extended Cox regression models were developed. RESULTS: The overall 30-day hospital readmission rate was 9.6% (N? = 531; primary 9.5%, revision 11.1%). Both readmitted patients and the overall sample were similar on types of preoperative opioid use. Relative to patients without opioids, patients in the short-acting opioids only tier had the highest risk for 30-day hospital readmission (hazard ratio? = 1.38, 95% confidence interval? = 1.14-1.67). Preoperative opioid status was not associated with 30-day readmission. Other risk factors for 30-day readmission included older age ( = 66?years), higher comorbidity and diagnosis-related group weights, greater preoperative health care utilization, an urban location, and use of preoperative anticonvulsants. CONCLUSIONS: Given the current opioid epidemic, the routine prescribing of short-acting opioids after surgery should be carefully considered to avoid increasing risks of 30-day hospital readmissions and other negative outcomes, particularly in the context of other predisposing factors.