The Prevalence of Diabetes Mellitus and Routine Hemoglobin A1c Screening in Elective Total Joint Arthroplasty Patients
BACKGROUND:Diabetes mellitus has been associated with significant perioperative complications in joint arthroplasty. In addition, many patients are unaware of their dysglycemic status, and the prevalence of undiagnosed dysglycemia in joint arthroplasty patients is unknown. METHODS:Several years ago, we began routine hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) level screening in all our patients planning to undergo elective total hip and total knee arthroplasties. We retrospectively reviewed the HbA1c levels in our initial 663 patients. RESULTS:Forty-eight percent of these patients were found to be nondiabetic; 19% percent had a previous history of some level of dysglycemia. Most significantly, over one third, 33.6% of these patients were previously undiagnosed dysglycemic patients; 31% were diagnosed as prediabetic and 2.6% as diabetic. CONCLUSION:Owing to the high prevalence of prediabetic patients who go on to develop diabetes and to the high correlation of poor glucose control with perioperative complications, we feel that it is imperative to identify this large number of previously undiagnosed dysglycemic patients. We recommend the routine screening of all patients planning to undergo major orthopedic procedures. Likewise, we recommend that identified patients be referred for diabetic counseling. We also recommend that patients with markedly elevated HbA1c levels have their elective surgery postponed until better glycemic control can be achieved.