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AIMS: To compare rates of serious adverse events in patients undergoing revision knee arthroplasty with consideration of the indication for revision (urgent versus elective indications), and compare these with primary arthroplasty and re-revision arthroplasty. METHODS: Patients undergoing primary knee arthroplasty were identified in the national Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) between 1 April 1997 to 31 March 2017. Subsequent revision and re-revision arthroplasty procedures in the same patients and same knee were identified. The primary outcome was 90-day mortality and a logistic regression model was used to investigate factors associated with 90-day mortality and secondary adverse outcomes, including infection (undergoing surgery), pulmonary embolism, myocardial infarction, and stroke. Urgent indications for revision arthroplasty were defined as infection or fracture, and all other indications (e.g. loosening, instability, wear) were included in the elective indications cohort. RESULTS: A total of 939,021 primary knee arthroplasty procedures were included (939,021 patients), of which 40,854 underwent subsequent revision arthroplasty, and 9,100 underwent re-revision arthroplasty. Revision surgery for elective indications was associated with a 90-day rate of mortality of 0.44% (135/30,826; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.37 to 0.52) which was comparable to primary knee arthroplasty (0.46%; 4,292/939,021; 95% CI 0.44 to 0.47). Revision arthroplasty for infection was associated with a much higher mortality of 2.04% (184/9037; 95% CI 1.75 to 2.35; odds ratio (OR) 3.54; 95% CI 2.81 to 4.46), as was revision for periprosthetic fracture at 5.25% (52/991; 95% CI 3.94 to 6.82; OR 6.23; 95% CI 4.39 to 8.85). Higher rates of pulmonary embolism, myocardial infarction, and stroke were also observed in the infection and fracture cohort. CONCLUSION: Patients undergoing revision arthroplasty for urgent indications (infection or fracture) are at higher risk of mortality and serious adverse events in comparison to primary knee arthroplasty and revision arthroplasty for elective indications. These findings will be important for patient consent and shared decision-making and should inform service design for this patient cohort. Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2021;103-B(10):1578-1585.

Original publication




Journal article


Bone Joint J

Publication Date





1578 - 1585


Arthroplasty, Complications, Infection, Knee, Mortality, Periprosthetic fracture, Primary knee arthroplasty, Revision arthroplasty, knee, knee arthroplasty procedures, periprosthetic fracture, primary arthroplasties, revision arthroplasties, revision hip and knee arthroplasty, revision surgery, stroke