The growing opioid epidemic in the USA has underlying racial disparities dimensions. Also, studies have shown that patients from minority racial groups are at higher risk of adverse events following major orthopedic surgery. The aim of our study was to determine whether pre-operative opioid-use disorders (OUDs) impacted racial disparities in the likelihood of patients experiencing adverse post-operative outcomes following TKA and THA.
Data about patients undergoing TKA and THA were collected from the 2005–2014 National Inpatient Sample databases. Regression modeling was used to assess the impact of OUDs on odds of adverse outcomes comparing racial groups. The adverse outcomes included any in-hospital post-surgical complications, prolonged length of stay (LOS), and nonhome discharge.
In our fully adjusted regression models using White patients as the reference group, we found that OUDs were associated with racial disparities in prolonged LOS and nonhome discharge. In the non-OUD group, Black patients had significantly higher odds of longer LOS (OR: 1.35, 95% CI: 1.26–1.46, p-value: < 0.0001), whereas those with history of OUD had non-significantly lower odds of longer LOS (OR: 0.94, 95% CI: 0.69–1.29, p-value: 0.71). Similarly, for the outcome of nonhome discharges, Black patients in the non-OUD group had significantly higher odds (OR: 1.31, 95% CI: 1.21–1.43, p-value: < 0.0001) and those with a history of OUD had non-significantly lower odds (OR: 0.91, 95% CI: 0.64–1.29, p-value: 0.59).
Significant racial disparities are present in adverse events among patients in the non-OUD group, but those disparities attenuated in the OUD group.