RECENT PUBLIC HEALTH STUDY PRESENTED AT NYSSOS ANNUAL MEETING FINDS LINK BETWEEN CHRONIC CANNABIS USE AND UNFAVORABLE JOINT REPLACEMENT SURGERY OUTCOMESCannabis Use Associated With Prolonged In-Hospital Length of Stay, Higher Complication Rates, and Increased Healthcare Expenditures
Albany, New York — A new study by researchers at the Maimonides Medical Center found a significant association between cannabis use disorder and unfavorable outcomes following total knee replacement. The study’s preliminary findings were unveiled at the New York State Society of Orthopaedic Surgeon’s (NYSSOS) annual meeting and symposium on October 22 by Dr. Miriam D. Weisberg, an orthopedic resident at the Maimonides Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, who was part of a team of researchers led by Maimonides’ research fellow Dr. Rushabh M. Vakharia.
The researchers collected data on more than 50,000 patients who had undergone total knee replacement surgeries, known as total knee arthroplasty, or TKA. Almost 10,000 of these patients had a clinical diagnosis of cannabis use disorder (CUD), which is generally defined as the persistent use of cannabis leading to impairment and social hinderance. The aim of the study was to determine whether cannabis use disorder patients undergoing primary TKA have higher rates of in-hospital lengths of stay, complications and increased healthcare costs.
The study concluded that:
- The majority of patients undergoing TKA with cannabis use disorder are between 45-65 years old.
- CUD patients were found to have nearly twice as long of an in-hospital length of stay following surgery (about 4-days compared to 2-days). This was also found to be increasing over the 8-year study period.
- CUD patients were 1.5 times more likely to have a medical complication, such as pneumonia, respiratory failure or heart attack, within 90-days following surgery.
- CUD patients were found to be up to 56 percent more likely to experience prostheses-related complications, such as loosening or infection, compared to their counterparts, within two years of their knee replacement.
- Day of surgery costs and total global 90-day episode of care costs were found to be nearly 20 percent higher in the CUD group compared to the case-matched cohort.
NYSSOS President Dr. John DiPreta said: “The study strongly suggests that all of the impacts of broader cannabis use are not yet fully understood, and that more research and diligent impact analysis is necessary as we move forward. We are hopeful that the state’s cannabis policy makers and regulators move cautiously, and more importantly, reflect on the health of all New Yorkers as they implement New York’s legalized cannabis program to ensure that any potential unanticipated consequences of increased cannabis use are effectively addressed and, if possible, mitigated. To that end, we stand ready to provide any assistance possible as it relates to the musculoskeletal health of New Yorkers and these consequences of cannabis use.”
The Maimonides research was one of several studies presented at the NYSSOS annual meeting and symposium. The full Maimonides study has been submitted for publication to the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and is currently under review.