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AIMS: Our main aim was to describe the trend in the comorbidities of patients undergoing elective total hip arthroplasties (THAs) and knee arthroplasties (KAs) between 1 January 2005 and 31 December 2018 in England. METHODS: We combined data from the National Joint Registry (NJR) on primary elective hip and knee arthroplasties performed between 2005 and 2018 with pre-existing conditions recorded at the time of their primary operation from Hospital Episodes Statistics. We described the temporal trend in the number of comorbidities identified using the Charlson Comorbidity Index, and how this varied by age, sex, American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) grade, index of multiple deprivation, and type of KA. RESULTS: We included 696,504 and 833,745 elective primary THAs and KAs respectively, performed for any indication. Between 2005 and 2018, the proportion of elective THA and KA patients with one or more comorbidity at the time of their operation increased substantially (THA: 20% to 38%, KA: 22% to 41%). This was driven by increases in four conditions: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (2018: ~17%), diabetes without complications (2018: THA 10%, KA 14%), myocardial infarction (2018: 4%), and renal disease (2018: ~8%). Notably, renal disease prevalence increased from < 1% in 2005 to ~8% in 2018. CONCLUSION: Between 2005 and 2018 there were significant changes in the number of comorbidities recorded in patients having elective primary THAs and KAs. Renal disease is now one of the most prevalent comorbidities in this patient population. Future research should explore whether this comorbidity trend has increased the burden on other medical specialities to optimize these patients before surgery and to provide additional postoperative care.Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2022;104-B(9):1052-1059.

Original publication




Journal article


Bone joint j

Publication Date





1052 - 1059


Anesthesiologists, Charlson Comorbidity Index (CCI), Cohort study, Comorbidity, Diabetes, Knee arthroplasty, National Joint Registry, Total hip arthroplasty, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, comorbidities, hip and knee arthroplasties, kidney disease, primary THAs