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  • OPT Group

Perioperative Systemic Dexamethasone Reduces Length of Stay in Total Joint Arthroplasty: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials


Background: The objective of this review is to examine the effect of perioperative systemic corticosteroids at varying doses and timings on early postoperative recovery outcomes following unilateral total knee and total hip arthroplasty. The primary outcome was length of stay (LOS).

Methods: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials was performed. MEDLINE, EMBASE, and Cochrane Library databases were searched from inception to June 1, 2020. Studies comparing the outcome of adult patients receiving a systemic steroid to patients who did not receive steroids were included.

Results: Seventeen studies were included, incorporating 1957 patients. Perioperative corticosteroids reduced hospital LOS (mean difference [MD] = -0.39 days, 95% confidence interval [CI] -0.61 to -0.18). A subsequent dose of corticosteroid at 24 hours further reduced LOS (MD = -0.33, 95% CI -0.55 to -0.11). Corticosteroids resulted in reduced levels of pain on postoperative day (POD) 0 (MD = -1.99, 95% CI -3.30 to -0.69), POD1 (MD = -1.47, 95% CI -2.15 to -0.79), and POD2. Higher doses were more effective in reducing pain with activity on POD0 (P = .006) and 1 (P = .023). Steroids reduced the incidence of PONV on POD1 (log odds ratio [OR] = -1.05, 95% CI -1.26 to -0.84) and POD2, with greater effect at higher doses (P = .046). Corticosteroids did not increase the incidence of infection (P = 1.000), venous thromboembolism (P = 1.000), or gastrointestinal hemorrhage (P = 1.000) but were associated with an increase in blood glucose (MD = 5.30 mg/dL, 95% CI 2.69-7.90).

Conclusion: Perioperative corticosteroids are safe, facilitate earlier discharge, and improve patient recovery following unilateral total knee arthroplasty and total hip arthroplasty. Higher doses (15-20 mg of dexamethasone) are associated with further reductions in dynamic pain and PONV, and repeat dosing may further reduce LOS.

Keywords: corticosteroid; day-case arthroplasty; dexamethasone; steroid; total hip arthroplasty; total knee arthroplasty.


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