A prospective review of appetite loss and recovery time in primary joint replacement patients

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Abstract

INTRODUCTION

Appetite loss is commonly reported by patients following major surgery, including total joint arthroplasty (TJA). A number of studies have examined related problems, particularly in relation to physiological responses to surgery. However, no published paper has looked specifically at the duration of appetite loss in total knee arthroplasty (TKA) and total hip arthroplasty (THA) patients.

METHODS

A simple, established appetite screening tool was administered preoperatively and at 2-week intervals postoperatively in 50 TJA patients until appetite levels returned to preoperative levels. The results were examined for various descriptive parameters and compared using the chi-squared test.

RESULTS

Thirty-three patients underwent TKA and 17 THA. There were 27 female and 23 male patients. No patients were lost to follow-up. The median time for return of appetite in both male and female patients was 4 weeks (interquartile range [IQR]: male, 2-4; female, 4-6). The median time for return of appetite was 4 weeks both in TKA patients (IQR 4-6) and in those undergoing THA (IQR 4-4). The time to return of appetite was not significantly associated with either the gender of the patients (p=0.13) or the type of joint replacement (p=0.49).

CONCLUSIONS

The study provides a clear time frame for return of appetite in uncomplicated primary joint replacements. This is a commonly noted patient problem that has not previously been specifically reviewed.

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