Outcomes following hip and knee replacement in diabetic versus nondiabetic patients and well versus poorly controlled diabetic patients: a prospective cohort study

<p><b>Background and purpose</b> — The impact of diabetes and glycemic control before joint replacement on clinical and patient-reported outcomes is unclear. We compared pain, function, complications, and length of hospital stay in diabetic and nondiabetic patients receiving primary total hip (THR) or knee replacement (TKR) and compared these outcomes in patients with poorly controlled versus well-controlled diabetes.</p> <p><b>Patients and methods</b> — We conducted a prospective cohort study of patients undergoing primary THR (n = 300) or TKR (n = 287) for osteoarthritis. Self-reported diabetes and glycemic control (HbA1c ≤ or >7%) extracted from medical notes were used. Adjusted comparisons were performed with generalized linear models including body mass index (BMI) and comorbidities.</p> <p><b>Results</b> — Diabetes prevalence was 11% (THR 8%; TKR 14%). Diabetic patients were more likely to have a higher BMI and greater number of comorbidities. The median length of hospital stay was 1 day longer in diabetic patients (p = 0.004), but this attenuated after adjustments for BMI and comorbidities (p = 0.3). Inpatient pain was greater for diabetic patients but attenuated following adjustment. The 12-month postoperative WOMAC subscales were similar by diabetes status following adjustment. There was little evidence of difference in outcomes according to glycemic control.</p> <p><b>Interpretation</b> — The associations between diabetes and worse postoperative outcomes in patients undergoing THR or TKR for osteoarthritis appear to be predominantly due to associated obesity and comorbidities. In diabetic patients there is little evidence of association between postoperative outcome and preoperative glycemic control. The underlying mechanisms and causal pathways of obesity, diabetes, and multimorbidity that lead to worse outcomes after joint replacement are not well known.</p>