Go to content

The impact of common urologic complications on the risk of a periprosthetic joint infection


Background — Periprosthetic infections after total hip arthroplasty (THA) or total knee arthroplasty (TKA) are substantial complications, and there are conflicting reports of their association with urologic complications. Our objective was to determine whether urinary tract infection (UTI) and acute urinary retention (AUR) are significant risk factors for joint infections after THA or TKA.

Methods — We performed a population-based, retrospective cohort study of patients who were ≥66 years old when they underwent an initial THA or TKA between April 2003 and March 2013. Investigated exposures included a UTI presenting for treatment within 2 years after joint replacement, as well as AUR within 30 days after THA or TKA. The primary outcome was joint infection requiring hospital admission following THA or TKA (which had to occur within 2.25 years after THA or TKA for the UTI exposure or 120 days for the AUR exposure).

Results — A total of 113,061 patients met the inclusion criteria and had arthroplasties (44,495 THAs and 68,566 TKAs) during the study period. The median age was 74 years (interquartile range [IQR], 70 to 79 years). Of those patients, 28,256 (25.0%) had at least 1 UTI and they were more likely to be older and female; to have had previous antibiotic exposure, cystoscopy, or urinary retention; and to have atrial fibrillation. Most of those UTIs were coded as nonspecific UTI, and the patient was seen for outpatient treatment in a non-emergency department setting. A total of 2,516 patients (2.2%) had AUR within 30 days of the procedure. Those patients were more likely to be older and male, to have medical comorbidities, to have had previous transurethral procedures or cystoscopy and previous urology visits, and to have received a general anesthetic during their procedure. A total of 1,262 patients (1.1%) had joint infection requiring hospital admission. In multivariate Cox regression analysis, UTI was associated with an increased risk of joint infection (hazard ratio [HR], 1.21 [95% confidence interval (CI), 1.14 to 1.28]; p < 0.01). However multivariate analysis did not demonstrate an association between AUR and joint infection (HR, 0.99 [95% CI, 0.60 to 1.64]; p = 0.98).

Conclusions — UTI was associated with increased risk of hip or knee periprosthetic joint infection, whereas AUR was not a significant risk factor. Timely and appropriate treatment of symptomatic UTIs in this patient population may be important to prevent periprosthetic joint infection.

Level of Evidence — Prognostic Level III. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.



Punjani N, Lanting B, McClure JA, Winick-Ng J, Welk B. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2018; 100(17):1517-23. Epub 2018 Sep 5.

Contributing ICES Scientists

Associated Sites