Protocol for a prospective cohort study of assessing postoperative cognitive changes after total hip and knee arthroplasty in the Greater Toronto area

January 23, 2020

Authors: Stephen Choi, Sinziana Avramescu, Beverley A Orser, Shelly Au

Journal: BMJ Open

DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2018-024259

Year Published: 2019


Cognitive changes after anaesthesia and surgery, such as delirium and postoperative cognitive dysfunction (POCD), are common and lead to poor outcomes and increased healthcare costs. While several interventions for delirium exist, there are no effective treatment strategies for POCD. Understanding the risks and contributing factors may offer clinicians unique opportunities to better identify and develop preventative interventions for those at higher risk. Elderly patients undergoing orthopaedic surgery are at high risk of developing postoperative delirium (PD) and POCD. The incidence of POCD has not been rigorously studied in the total hip and knee arthroplasty (THA/TKA) population. Therefore, we have designed a prospective, observational cohort study to assess POCD in patients undergoing THA/TKA, both increasingly common procedures. The incidence of PD and POCD in a high volume, tertiary care arthroplasty centre will be determined and associated risk factors will be identified.

Methods and Analysis:

Cognitive function will be tested with a computer-based cognitive assessment tool [CogState Brief Battery], preoperatively at baseline and postoperatively while in hospital at (<3 days), 6 weeks and 4.5 months. The primary outcome is the incidence of postoperative cognitive decline at 4.5 months. Logistic regression analysis is planned to test the association of POCD with several potential risk factors. In addition, delirium will be assessed preoperatively and postoperatively in the hospital using the Confusion Assessment Method (3D-CAM).

Ethics and Dissemination:

The protocol for this prospective observational study was approved by the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre Research Ethics Board (REB#: 040-2017). Recruitment commenced in May 2017 and will continue until 2019. The results will be disseminated in a peer-reviewed journal and in scientific meetings.

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