Inadequate Glycemic Control Is Associated With Increased Surgical Site Infection in Total Joint Arthroplasty: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Noam Shohat, Khitam Muhsen, Ron Gilat, Alexander J. Rondon, Antonia F. Chen, Javad Parvizi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: The association between inadequate glycemic control and surgical site infection (SSI) following total joint arthroplasty (TJA) remains unclear. The aim of this study is to assess the relationship between perioperative glycemic control and the risk for SSI, mainly periprosthetic joint infection. Methods: We searched OVID-MEDLINE, Embase, and Web of Science from inception up to June 2017. The main independent variable was glycemic control as defined by glycated hemoglobin (HbA1C) or perioperative glucose values. The main outcome was SSI. Publication year, location, study design, sample population (size, age, gender), procedure, glycemic control assessment, infection outcome, results, confounders, and limitations were assessed. Studies included in the meta-analysis had stratified glycemic control using a distinct HbA1C cut-off. Results: Seventeen studies were included in this study. Meta-analysis of 10 studies suggested that elevated HbA1C levels were associated with a higher risk of SSI after TJA (pooled odds ratio 1.49, 95% confidence interval 0.94-2.37, P =.09) with significant heterogeneity between studies (I2 = 81.32%, P <.0001). In a subgroup analysis of studies considering HbA1C with a cut-off of 7% as uncontrolled, this association was no longer noticed (P =.50). All 5 studies that specifically assessed for SSI and perioperative hyperglycemia showed a significant association, which was usually attenuated after adjusting for covariates. Conclusion: Inadequate glycemic control was associated with increased risk for SSI after TJA. However, the optimal HbA1C threshold remains contentious. Pooled data does not support the conventional 7% cut-off for risk stratification. Future studies should examine new markers for determining adequate glycemic control.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2312-2321.e3
JournalJournal of Arthroplasty
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2018


  • glycemic control
  • outcomes
  • periprosthetic joint infection
  • surgical site infection
  • total joint arthroplasty

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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