Nutritional Laboratory Studies Prior to Total Knee Arthroplasty: Practice Versus Publication

Maxwell J. Rakutt, Travis B. Eason, K. Keely Boyle, Leonard T. Buller, Chad A. Krueger, Cale A. Jacobs, Stephen T. Duncan, David C. Landy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background:Recent emphasis has been placed on nutritional status assessment prior to total knee arthroplasty (TKA), including multiple American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons publications recommending specific laboratory studies; however, the frequency with which surgeons obtain these laboratory studies remains unclear. We sought to assess the incidence of ordering nutritional laboratory studies in the 90 days prior to TKA, utilizing data from a large administrative claims database.Methods:With use of the PearlDiver database, we identified 557,670 patients undergoing primary TKA from 2011 to 2020 with a metabolic panel or blood cell count claim within 90 days prior to TKA. We then determined the incidence of prealbumin, transferrin, vitamin D, and zinc laboratory tests claimed 90 days prior to TKA. Associations between claims and the year of surgery, patient demographics, and clinical characteristics were assessed by comparing proportions and chi-square testing.Results:Nutritional laboratory studies were infrequently claimed within 90 days prior to TKA, with studies for prealbumin being performed in 2.2% of patients; transferrin, 1.9%; vitamin D, 10.2%; and zinc, 0.2%. From 2011 to 2020, there was a moderate but steady increase in the proportion of patients with claims for prealbumin (change from 0.8% in 2011 to 3.4% in 2020; p < 0.001), transferrin (0.8% to 2.7%; p < 0.001), and vitamin D (7.6% to 9.4%; p < 0.001) laboratory tests but there was less of a change for zinc (0.1% to 0.2%; p < 0.001). There were weak-to-absent associations of age, gender, obesity, diabetes, and anemia with laboratory claims.Conclusions:Despite multiple publications and recommendations, nutritional laboratory studies are infrequently ordered prior to TKA. Although there has been a slight increase in the use of nutritional laboratory studies over the past decade, patient factors such as gender and obesity were not associated with this increase. Understanding current practice patterns may help target future areas for improvement.Level of Evidence:Diagnostic Level III. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1947-1953
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Bone and Joint Surgery
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 20 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Lippincott Williams and Wilkins. All rights reserved.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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