K-Means Clustering to Elucidate Vulnerable Subpopulations Among Medicare Patients Undergoing Total Joint Arthroplasty

Daniel Ranti, Andrew J. Warburton, Kaitlin Hanss, Daniel Katz, Jashvant Poeran, Calin Moucha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Background: The role of preoperative laboratory values for risk stratification following joint arthroplasty is currently ambiguous. In order to improve upon existing risk stratification within joint arthroplasty, this study sought to define novel phenotypes of total hip or total knee arthroplasty patients based entirely on preoperative laboratory measures. These phenotypes (“clusters”) were compared to elucidate statistically and clinically significant differences in outcomes. Methods: A total of 134,252 patients were gathered from the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database between 2005 and 2015. “K-means” with 3 clusters was applied using 9 preoperative laboratory values: sodium, blood urea nitrogen (BUN), creatinine, albumin, bilirubin, white blood cell count, hematocrit, platelet count, and international normalized ratio of prothrombin values (INR). Outcome measures included 30-day readmissions, severe adverse events, and discharge to nonhome. Results: Cluster 2 was characterized by elevated preoperative BUN, creatinine, and INR and demonstrated almost twice the rate of adverse events (3.52% vs 2.20% and 2.22%), 30-day readmissions (6.39% vs 3.31% and 3.71%), and discharge to nonhome (47.97% vs 30.50% and 35.85%). Cluster 3 was characterized by a slightly higher risk of discharge to nonhome than cluster 1 and was overwhelmingly female (79.5% female, 35.8% discharge to nonhome). Cluster 1 represents the lowest-risk subgroup, experiencing the lowest rates of readmissions, adverse events, and discharge to nonhome. Conclusion: Preoperative laboratory values, namely BUN, creatinine, and INR, are useful in identifying patients at risk of adverse outcomes. This analysis supports the existing surgical literature pushing for preoperative hydration as a targeted intervention to expedite recovery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3488-3497
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Arthroplasty
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • AKI
  • K-means clustering
  • arthroplasty
  • dehydration
  • readmissions
  • unsupervised machine learning


Dive into the research topics of 'K-Means Clustering to Elucidate Vulnerable Subpopulations Among Medicare Patients Undergoing Total Joint Arthroplasty'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this