Introduction: Total knee arthroplasty (TKA) is one of the most successful orthopaedic procedures to date. It is estimated that over 130,000 of TKAs are performed in the United States every year. Whilst the procedure is safe, it nevertheless carries a risk of perioperative mortality and morbidity. This study aimed to report the mortality rate within 30 days after a TKA, as well as to assess the incidence of early postoperative morbidities. Materials and Methods: We reviewed a total of 2219 TKAs performed by multiple surgeons in our centre from 1998 to 2001. All mortalities within 30 days of a TKA were recorded. Morbidities such as infection, thromboembolic phenomenon, and any re-admissions within 30 days of operation or 15 days of discharge were recorded. Results: The mortality rate within 30 days of a TKA was 0.27% (6 of 2219 patients). The incidence of early postoperative infection was 1.8%, of which 1.44% were superficial and 0.36% were deep infections. There were 3 cases (0.13%) of pulmonary embolism and 22 cases (0.99%) of deep vein thrombosis. Conclusions: The 30-day mortality rate, and the incidence of infection after TKA performed in our institution is comparable to other centres around the world, and further emphasises that TKA is a safe procedure. However, the small number of mortalities in this study does not allow us to identify a predominant cause of perioperative mortality.
Total knee arthroplasty (TKA) for patients with knee arthritis that is unresponsive to conservative treatment is being increasingly performed all over the world. It is a safe procedure with a low risk of perioperative death. Improvements in surgical techniques, as well as the identification and treatment of comorbidities, have further reduced the incidence of postoperative deaths.
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