Determining the Threshold for HbA1c as a Predictor for Adverse Outcomes After Total Joint Arthroplasty: A Multicenter, Retrospective Study

Majd Tarabichi, Noam Shohat, Michael M. Kheir, Muyibat Adelani, David Brigati, Sean M. Kearns, Pankajkumar Patel, John C. Clohisy, Carlos A. Higuera, Brett R. Levine, Ran Schwarzkopf, Javad Parvizi*, William A. Jiranek

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background Although HbA1c is commonly used for assessing glycemic control before surgery, there is no consensus regarding its role and the appropriate threshold in predicting adverse outcomes. This study was designed to evaluate the potential link between HbA1c and subsequent periprosthetic joint infection (PJI), with the intention of determining the optimal threshold for HbA1c. Methods This is a multicenter retrospective study, which identified 1645 diabetic patients who underwent primary total joint arthroplasty (1004 knees and 641 hips) between 2001 and 2015. All patients had an HbA1c measured within 3 months of surgery. The primary outcome of interest was a PJI at 1 year based on the Musculoskeletal Infection Society criteria. Secondary outcomes included orthopedic (wound and mechanical complications) and nonorthopedic complications (sepsis, thromboembolism, genitourinary, and cardiovascular complications). A regression analysis was performed to determine the independent influence of HbA1c for predicting PJI. Results Overall 22 cases of PJI occurred at 1 year (1.3%). HbA1c at a threshold of 7.7 was distinct for predicting PJI (area under the curve, 0.65; 95% confidence interval, 0.51-0.78). Using this threshold, PJI rates increased from 0.8% (11 of 1441) to 5.4% (11 of 204). In the stepwise logistic regression analysis, PJI remained the only variable associated with higher HbA1c (odds ratio, 1.5; confidence interval, 1.2-2.0; P =.0001). There was no association between high HbA1c levels and other complications assessed. Conclusion High HbA1c levels are associated with an increased risk for PJI. A threshold of 7.7% seems to be more indicative of infection than the commonly used 7% and should perhaps be the goal in preoperative patient optimization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S263-S267.e1
JournalJournal of Arthroplasty
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2017


  • HbA1c
  • complications
  • hip
  • knee
  • periprosthetic joint infection
  • total joint arthroplasty


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