Does racial background influence outcomes following total joint arthroplasty?

Background: The purpose of this study is to assess whether racial differences influence patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) following primary total hip (THA) and knee (TKA) arthroplasty.

Methods: We retrospectively reviewed patients who underwent primary THA or TKA from 2016 to 2020 with available PROMs. Both THA and TKA patients were separated into three groups based on their ethnicity: Caucasian, African-American, and other races. Patient demographics, clinical data, and PROMs at various time-periods were collected and compared. Demographic differences were assessed using chi-square and ANOVA. Univariate ANCOVA was utilized to compare outcomes and PROMs while accounting for demographic differences.

Results: This study included 1999 THA patients and 1375 TKA patients. In the THA cohort, 1636 (82%) were Caucasian, 177 (9%) were African-American, and 186 (9%) were of other races. In the TKA cohort, 864 (63%) were Caucasian, 236 (17%) were African-American, and 275 (20%) were of other races. Surgical-time significantly differed between the groups that underwent THA (88.4vs.100.5vs.96.1; p < 0.001) with African-Americans requiring the longest operative time. Length-of-stay significantly differed in both THA (1.5vs.1.9vs.1.8; p < 0.001) and TKA (2.1vs.2.5vs.2.3; p < 0.001) cohorts, with African-Americans having the longest stay. Caucasians reported significantly higher PROM scores compared to non-Caucasians in both cohorts. All-cause emergency-department (ED) visits, 90-day postoperative events (readmissions&revisions), and discharge-disposition did not statistically differ in both cohorts.

Conclusion: Non-Caucasian patients demonstrated lower PROM scores when compared to Caucasian patients following TJA although the differences may not be clinically relevant. LOS was significantly longer for African-Americans in both THA and TKA cohorts. Further investigation identifying racial disparity interventions is warranted.

Level of evidence: Prognostic Level III.

Keywords: Outcomes; PRO scores; Racial disparity; Total hip arthroplasty; Total joint arthroplasty; Total knee arthroplasty.