Authors: Baser O, Supina D, Sengupta N, et al.

Purpose: The impact of postoperative venous thromboembolism (VTE) during initial hospitalization for total hip replacement (THR) or total knee replacement (TKR) surgery was assessed.

Methods: Using Medicare Provider Analysis and Review files, patients who underwent THR, TKR, or hip fracture surgery from 2005 to 2007 were identified using appropriate procedure codes from the International Classification of Diseases, 9th Revision, Clinical Modification. Medicare managed care patients were excluded from the study. Eligible patients were classified as having had deep venous thrombosis (DVT), pulmonary embolism (PE), DVT and PE, or no VTE during their initial hospitalization. Risk adjustment was performed using propensity score matching. Medicare cost, cost to beneficiaries, and cost to primary payers were analyzed to determine risk-adjusted differences in outcome measures, including mortality, rehospitalization, bleeding, length of stay, and total health care expenditures related to VTE events.

Results: A total of 170,047 patients were identified. Postoperative VTE events occurred in 3,014 patients (1.77%) during their initial hospitalization. Risk-adjusted mortality rates were three to four times higher for patients with VTE compared with those without VTE. Patients with VTE were more likely to be re-hospitalized and experience bleeding within 30 days. Risk-adjusted differences in annual mean cost, including Medicare cost and costs to beneficiaries and primary payers, were significantly greater for patients with VTE.

Conclusion: Patients who developed VTE after THR or TKR had a higher likelihood of mortality, bleeding, and rehospitalization; were hospitalized longer; and incurred higher costs to Medicare, Medicare beneficiaries, and private payers compared with patients without VTE.

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