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Purpose: Enhanced recovery pathways after knee arthroplasty have been introduced worldwide with positive results. The present study investigated the improvements of health-related quality of life and functional outcome in patients operated for knee arthroplasty who followed an Outpatient Surgery (OS) or Enhanced Recovery (ER) pathway.
Methods: We reviewed our institutional database of 361 consecutive patients undergoing knee arthroplasty (total and partial) who followed either the OS-pathway (n=94; 26.1%) or ER-pathway (n=267; 73.9%). Recorded outcomes included 4 different patient reported outcome measures (PROMs; EuroQol-5D (both index and VAS), Oxford Knee Score, Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Arthritis Index and the Pain-Numerical Rating Scale) obtained pre-and during the 3-and 12-months postoperative follow-up.
Results: 93 patients (99%) in the OS-group were discharged on the day of surgery as scheduled, whereas in the ER-group 70% of the patients were discharged<3 days postoperatively. At 12-month follow-up, the EQ-5D (both index and VAS) and other PROMs improved significantly (p<0.000) within each pathway. There were no significant differences between both pathways.
Conclusion: One year after knee arthroplasty, patients who were included in an Outpatient Surgery pathway had comparable quality of life and PROMs as patients operated in an Enhanced Recovery pathway.
Level of evidence: Case control study, Level III.