Disparities Associated With Total Joint Arthroplasty Transfusion Rates

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Journal of Arthroplasty


Background: Infections, readmissions, and mortalities after total joint arthroplasty (TJA) are serious complications, and transfusions have been associated with increased complication rates following TJA. Certain populations, including women, Black patients, patients who have public insurance and older adults have higher risks of transfusion. Recently, there has been a decline in transfusion rates and a greater emphasis on equity in medicine. This study examined whether disparities in transfusion rates still exist and what variables influence rates over time. Methods: We used a health care system database to identify 5,435 total knee arthroplasty (TKA) and 2,105 total hip arthroplasty (THA) patients from 2013 to 2021. Transfusion rates were 2.9 and 3.1% in the TKA and THA arthroplasty groups, respectively. White race represented 67.1 and 69.8% of the TKA and THA groups, respectively. Fisher exact and Wilcoxon rank sum tests were used to compare categorical and continuous variables. Multivariable logistic regressions were performed to predict transfusion rates within 5 days of surgery and adjust for potential confounders. Results: Transfusion rates declined over time. However, Black patients had a higher rate of transfusion than White patients despite similar hemoglobin levels, 5.1 versus 1.8% (P < .001) in the TKA group and 4.1 versus 2.7% (P = .103) in the THA group. Following adjustment, the biggest factor associated with a higher transfusion risk in the TKA group was being Black (adjusted odds ratio = 2.2, 95% confidence interval = 1.55 to 3.13). Conclusions: Transfusion rates for TJA patients are declining; however, Black patients continued to receive transfusions at higher rates in patients receiving TKA.

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