In-Hospital Complications Following Ankle Arthrodesis Versus Ankle Arthroplasty: A Matched Cohort Study

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Background:Ankle arthrodesis has been the traditional surgical treatment for end-stage hindfoot arthritis. However, utilization of total ankle arthroplasty (TAA) is increasing as surgical techniques and implants have substantially improved. The purpose of this study was to compare the U.S. national rates of perioperative (in-hospital) complications between a statistically matched cohort of patients who underwent either an ankle arthrodesis or a TAA.Methods:Data from the 2002 to 2013 Nationwide Inpatient Sample releases were analyzed. The International Classification of Diseases, 9th Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-9-CM) procedure codes were used to identify 4,192 patients treated with TAA (ICD 81.56) and 16,278 treated with ankle arthrodesis (ICD 81.11). ICD-9-CM diagnosis codes were utilized to identify major and minor in-hospital complications, and mortality was determined using the Uniform Bill patient disposition. The arthrodesis and TAA groups were matched with regard to age, sex, race, surgery year, hospital type, comorbidities, adjunctive procedures, and surgical indication. Unadjusted and adjusted in-hospital complication risks were compared between groups using the Fisher exact test and multiple logistic regression analysis.Results:We were able to statistically match 1,574 patients who underwent a TAA (37.5%) with a patient who underwent arthrodesis. A major in-hospital complication occurred in 8.5% (134) of the 1,574 patients in the ankle arthrodesis group compared with 5.3% (84) of the 1,574 in the TAA group (p < 0.001) whereas a minor complication was found in 4.7% (74) in the ankle arthrodesis group compared with 5.9% (93) in the TAA group (p = 0.14). There were no deaths in either group. After adjusting for case mix, we found that ankle arthrodesis was 1.8 times more likely to be followed by a major complication (odds ratio [OR] = 1.78, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.32 to 2.39) whereas the minor complication rate was 29% lower in that group (OR = 0.71, 95% CI = 0.45 to 1.13).Conclusions:In a matched cohort of 3,148 patients treated with either TAA or ankle arthrodesis, ankle arthrodesis was associated with a 1.8 times higher risk of a major complication but a 29% lower risk of a minor complication. Our findings are consistent with other studies that have shown TAA to be a safe procedure in the inpatient environment.Level of Evidence:Therapeutic Level III. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

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