Fast track elective surgery, hematoma formation, prosthetic joint infection, risk factors, total hip arthroplasty, total knee arthroplasty, wound dressing changes, wound leakage



  1. Kremers, Keetie MSc


Background and purpose: Prosthetic joint infection (PJI) is a serious complication resulting from total knee arthroplasty (TKA) or total hip arthroplasty (THA). In this study, patients with a PJI are compared with patients with an uncomplicated postoperative course to identify relevant risk factors for PJI.


Methods: A matched case-control study was performed with patients undergoing fast-track, elective unilateral TKA or THA. The following data were collected: demographics, surgery-related characteristics (perioperative blood loss, use of cement, body temperature), and postoperative characteristics (hematoma formation, wound leakage, blood transfusion, length of stay [LOS]).


Conclusions: When the PJI group was compared with the control group, there was significantly more wound leakage during hospital stay (88% vs. 36%, p = .001) and early wound dressing changes in the first 3 days after surgery (88% vs. 40%, p = .002). Hematoma formation was observed more in the PJI patients group (44% vs. 10%, p = .005). A trend test revealed a significant association between the total number of wound dressing changes and development of PJI (p < .001); 72% of PJI patients had a length of stay of >=4 days compared with 34% of controls (odds ratio 10.5; 95% CI [2.1-52.3]; p = .004).


Implications for practice: Early postoperative wound drainage and hematoma formation directly correlate with PJI. This resulted in a significantly higher number of dressing changes and longer LOS. The nurse practitioner has a central role in postoperative care and is the first to recognize signs of an adverse postoperative clinical course.