Using general practitioner records and hospital notes and through direct telephone conversation with patients, we investigated the accuracy of nine patient-reported complications gathered from a self-completed questionnaire after elective joint replacement surgery of the hip and knee. A total of 402 post-discharge complications were reported after 8546 elective operations that were undertaken within a three-year period. These were reported by 136 men and 240 women with a mean age of 71.8 years (34 to 93). A total of 319 reported complications (79.4%; 95% confidence interval 75.4 to 83.3) were confirmed to be correct. High rates of correct reporting were demonstrated for infection (94.5%) and the need for further surgery (100%), whereas the rates of reporting deep-vein thrombosis (DVT), pulmonary embolism, myocardial infarction and stroke were lower (75% to 84.2%). Dislocation, peri-prosthetic fractures and nerve palsy had modest rates of correct reporting (36% to 57.1%). More patients who had knee surgery delivered incorrect reports of dislocation (p = 0.001) and DVT (p = 0.013).
Despite these variations, it appears that post-operative complications may form part of a larger patient-reported outcome programme after elective joint replacement surgery.
No benefits in any form have been received or will be received from a commercial party related directly or indirectly to the subject of this article.
- Received January 12, 2012.
- Accepted April 18, 2012.
- ©2012 British Editorial Society of Bone and Joint Surgery