Factors Associated With Loss to Follow-up During the First Year After Total Knee Arthroplasty

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Despite increased pressure to capture patient-reported outcome measures for at least 1 year following total joint arthroplasty (TJA), follow-up rates during the first year after TJA are typically lower than desired and may result in biased findings if data are not missing at random. We conducted a retrospective review of medical records of primary total knee arthroplasty patients treated by a single surgeon at an urban academic private hospital. Main measures were demographics (sex, age, race, and insurance), body mass index, travel distance to clinic, and the Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (KOOS). Multivariable regression analyses were performed to identify patient characteristics associated with attendance at follow-up visits and predictors of attendance at 6-month follow-up. Among the 205 study patients, follow-up visit attendance declined from a high of 95.7% at day 14 to lows of 69.2% at 6 months and 64.4% at 1 year. Attendance at the previously scheduled follow-up visit was a statistically significant predictor of attendance at 3-month (P=.0015), 6-month (P=.0002), and 1-year (P<.0001) follow-up visits, and travel distance was significantly associated with attending the 1-year follow-up visit (P=.042). Patients with the most favorable KOOS Symptom, Pain, and Function in daily living subscale scores at 3-month follow-up were significantly less likely to attend the 6-month follow-up visit than patients with the least favorable KOOS scores. Prospective studies are needed to identify the full range of factors that may contribute to high rates of loss to follow-up after TJA, which should be of concern to researchers, clinicians, and hospitals

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