The necessity of routine postoperative laboratory tests after total hip arthroplasty for hip fracture in a semi-urgent clinical setting

Background: Recent studies suggest that routine postoperative laboratory tests are not necessary after primary elective total hip arthroplasty (THA). This study aims to evaluate the utility of routine postoperative laboratory tests in patients undergoing THA for hip fracture in a semi-urgent clinical setting.

Materials and methods: This retrospective study included 213 consecutive patients who underwent primary unilateral THA for hip fractures. Patient demographics, clinical information, and laboratory tests were obtained from the electronic medical record system. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was performed to identify risk factors associated with abnormal laboratory test-related interventions.

Results: A total of 207 patients (97.18%) had abnormal postoperative laboratory results, which were mainly due to anemia (190/213, 89.20%) and hypoalbuminemia (154/213, 72.30%). Overall, 54 patients (25.35%) underwent a clinical intervention, 18 patients received blood transfusion, and 42 patients received albumin supplementation. Factors associated with blood transfusion were long operative time and low preoperative hemoglobin levels. Factors associated with albumin supplementation were long operative time and low preoperative albumin levels. Of the 33 patients with abnormal postoperative creatinine levels, 7 patients underwent a clinical intervention. For electrolyte abnormalities, sodium supplementation was not given for hyponatremia, three patients received potassium supplementation, and one patient received calcium supplementation.

Conclusions: This study demonstrated a high incidence of abnormal postoperative laboratory tests and a significant clinical intervention rate in patients who underwent THA for hip fracture in a semi-urgent clinical setting, which indicates that routine laboratory tests after THA for hip fracture are still necessary for patients with certain risk factors.

Level of evidence: Level III. Trial registration Clinical trial registry number ChiCTR1900020690.

Keywords: Anemia; Hip fracture; Hypoalbuminemia; Laboratory test; Total hip arthroplasty.