While reverse shoulder arthroplasty (RSA) is considered a safe surgical option in elderly patients, large-scale analyses of complications and mortality after RSA in patients 80 years and older are scarce. The goals of the current study were to identify revision, complication, and early mortality rates after RSA in patients 80 years and older and compare these to younger patients.
The PearlDiver Database, which contains services rendered to Medicare, Medicaid, and commercial insurance patients, was queried for patients undergoing RSA using International Classification of Disease (ICD) 9/10 procedure codes. Patients were separated into two groups based on their age: 80 years and older and <80 years of age. The incidence of revision arthroplasty, medical, and surgical complications after RSA were extracted. Multivariate regression was used to compare revision arthroplasty and complication rates between groups. Statistical significance was set at P < 0.05.
29,430 cases of RSA were included with 486 cases in patients 80 years and older (median age, 80 years; age range, 2 years). Patients 80 years and older had 3.9, and 5.1% 1, and 2-year revision rates, compared to the younger cohort at 3.0, and 3.1%, respectively. In patients 80 years and older, there were higher rates of deep venous thrombosis (DVT) (OR 2.87, 95% CI 1.5-4.97), urinary tract infection (OR 1.42, 95% CI 1.01-1.94), acute renal failure (ARF) (OR 2.18, 95% CI 1.44-3.17) and pneumonia (OR 1.75, 95% CI 1.09-2.68) within 90 days postoperatively. 90-day surgical complications were similar between the cohorts, however younger patients experienced higher rates of dislocation, stiffness, periprosthetic fracture, and implant complications 1-year postoperatively. Patients 80 years and older had a significantly higher 90-day mortality rate at 2.7% compared to 1.5% in younger patients (P=0.002).
RSA is a generally safe procedure even in patients aged 80 and older, with low complication and revision rates. Patients 80 years and older had higher early mortality and medical complication rates, including DVT, renal failure, and pneumonia than patients less than 80 years of age. However, patients 80 years and older had lower dislocation, periprosthetic fracture, and implant-related complication rates at 1-year postoperatively.

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