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AbstractObjectivesTo assess cost-effectiveness of enhanced recovery pathways following total hip and knee arthroplasties. Secondary objectives were to report on quality of studies and identify research gaps for future work.DesignSystematic review of cost–utility analyses.Data sourcesOvid MEDLINE, Embase, the National Health Service Economic Evaluations Database and EconLit, January 2000 to August 2019.Eligibility criteriaEnglish-language peer-reviewed cost–utility analyses of enhanced recovery pathways, or components of one, compared with usual care, in patients having total hip or knee arthroplasties for osteoarthritis.Data extraction and synthesisData extracted by three reviewers with disagreements resolved by a fourth. Study quality assessed using the Consensus on Health Economic Criteria list, the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research and Assessment of the Validation Status of Health-Economic decision models tools; for trial-based studies the Cochrane Collaboration’s tool to assess risk of bias. No quantitative synthesis was undertaken.ResultsWe identified 17 studies: five trial-based and 12 model-based studies. Two analyses evaluated entire enhanced recovery pathways and reported them to be cost-effective compared with usual care. Ten pathway components were more effective and cost-saving compared with usual care, three were cost-effective, and two were not cost-effective. We had concerns around risk of bias for all included studies, particularly regarding the short time horizon of the trials and lack of reporting of model validation.ConclusionsConsistent results supported enhanced recovery pathways as a whole, prophylactic systemic antibiotics, antibiotic-impregnated cement and conventional ventilation for infection prevention. No other interventions were subject of more than one study. We found ample scope for future cost-effectiveness studies, particularly analyses of entire recovery pathways and comparison of incremental changes within pathways. A key limitation is that standard practices have changed over the period covered by the included studies.PROSPERO registration numberCRD42017059473.

Original publication




Journal article


BMJ Open



Publication Date





e032204 - e032204