Emergency Department Visits After Total Joint Arthroplasty for Concern for Deep Vein Thromboses.

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Concern for deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is the most common reason for emergency department (ED) referral after total joint arthroplasty (TJA) at our institution. We aim to investigate the referral pathway, together with the cost and outcomes associated with patients who access an ED because of concern for DVT after TJA.We reviewed a consecutive series of all primary hip and knee arthroplasty patients who accessed the ED for concern for DVT within 90 days of surgery over a one-year period. The referral source and costs associated with the ED visit were collected. A propensity-matched control cohort (n = 252) that was not referred to the ED for DVT was used to compare patient-reported outcomes measures.In 2018, 108/10,445 primary TJA patients (1.0%) accessed the ED for concern about DVT. The most common reason for accessing the ED was self-referral (69, 64%), followed by orthopaedic on-call referral (21, 19%). Only 15 patients (14%) were found to have ultrasonography evidence of DVT. The mean cost for accessing the ED for DVT for patients with public insurance was $834 (range $394-$2,877). When compared with the control cohort, patients who accessed the ED for DVT had significantly lower postoperative functionality scores (52.5 versus 65.9, P < 0.001).At our institution, 1% of patients who undergo primary TJA accessed the ED for concern for DVT at substantial cost, with only a small portion testing positive for DVT. Self-referral is by far the most common pathway. Additional investigations will be aimed at determining better pathways for DVT work-up, while ensuring appropriate management.

View the full article @ The Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
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