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Clinical pathway management of total knee arthroplasty: a retrospective comparative study

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-17, 16:30 authored by Sue-Anne PearsonSue-Anne Pearson, Moraw, I, Maddern, G
BACKGROUND: Clinical pathways facilitate the management of defined patient groups using interdisciplinary plans of care. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a clinical pathway in improving a range of selected outcome measures in patients who have undergone total knee arthroplasty (TKA). METHODS: The present study was conducted at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Adelaide. Using a retrospective comparative study design, 119 TKA patients who were managed on a clinical pathway from July 1997 to January 1998 (group 2) were compared with a retrospective group of 58 patients who underwent the same procedure from July 1996 to January 1997 (group 1) prior to the pathway's implementation. The following outcomes were measured: length of hospital stay; postoperative complications; readmissions and emergency service visits within 6 months of discharge; day of transfer to the convalescent unit; convalescent unit utilization and admission and discharge times. RESULTS: There was a significant reduction in the median length of stay in group 2 patients (9 vs 7 days; P < 0.0001). In addition there was a 66% increase in the proportion of patients in group 2 who were admitted on the day of surgery (P < 0.0001) and a 19.6% increase in the number of patients discharged within 8 postoperative days (P < 0.01). There were no significant differences between the groups with respect to the occurrence of postoperative complications. Although there was a trend toward a reduction in emergency service utilization and readmissions within 6 months of discharge for patients managed on the pathway, this was not significant. CONCLUSIONS: The development and implementation of a TKA clinical pathway resulted in a significant reduction in length of stay and improved streamlining of admission, discharge and transfer processes without adversely affecting patient outcomes.


Publication title

The Australian and New Zealand journal of surgery










Tasmanian School of Medicine


Royal Australasian College of Surgeons

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