The temporal effects of asymptomatic COVID-19 infection on peri-operative complications in patients receiving total joint arthroplasty.

Publication date: Jul 11, 2023

Recent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infection may pose increased risk of post-operative complications after total joint arthroplasty (TJA). Current recommendations suggest waiting four-weeks before elective surgery in asymptomatic patients. The purpose of this study was to propensity-score-match patients who had positive COVID-19-test between (1) 0-2 weeks and (2) 2-4 weeks before TJA with a matching group without COVID-19 history to determine rates of complications at 90-days and 1-year post-operatively. We queried a national-database for patients who tested positively for COVID-19 within 1-month (n = 1749) before TJA. A propensity-score-match analysis was conducted to limit influence of confounders. They were separated into mutually exclusive asymptomatic cohorts based on time of positive COVID-19-test before TJA: within 2-weeks (n = 1749) and between 2-to-4 weeks (n = 599). Asymptomatic patients were patients with positive test without symptoms of fever, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell, cough, bronchitis, pneumonia, lung infections, septic shock, and multiple-organ-dysfunction. Complications analyzed: 90-day and 1-year periprosthetic-joint infections (PJIs), surgical-site infections(SSIs), wound complications, cardiac complications, transfusions, and venous thromboembolisms. Asymptomatic patients who have COVID-19 demonstrated increased incidence of PJI in patients who had TJA performed within two weeks from positive test at 90-days compared to patients who did not test positive for COVID-19 (3. 0 vs. 1. 5%; p = 0. 023). Upon totaling all 90-day post-operative complications, no significant difference was found amongst asymptomatic patients who tested positive for COVID-19 for total complications at 90-days (p = 0. 936). Asymptomatic patients who test positive for COVID-19 don’t have increased risk for post-operative complications after TJA. However, two-fold increased risk in PJI for patients who tested positive for COVID-19 in first 2-weeks cannot be ignored. These results should be taken into consideration when surgeons consider performing TJA. We recommend asymptomatic patients consider waiting two-weeks before TJA to mitigate risk of PJI. Nevertheless, there’s reassurance these patients are not at increased total complication risk.

Concepts Keywords
2weeks Asymptomatic COVID-19
Coronavirus Complications
Diarrhea Temporal effects
Organ Total joint arthroplasty


Type Source Name
disease MESH COVID-19
disease MESH infection
disease MESH complications
disease IDO history
disease VO time
disease MESH bronchitis
disease MESH pneumonia
disease MESH septic shock
disease VO organ
disease IDO site
disease MESH thromboembolisms

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