Joint Replacement Patients Show Blood Clot Risk in Hospital

Joint Replacement Patients Show Blood Clot Risk in HospitalA new study suggests that one out of every 100 people receiving a knee replacement operation and one in 200 patients undergoing hip replacement surgery will develop a blood clot while they are recovering in the hospital, despite the steps that have been developed to prevent such an occurrence, HealthDay reports.

A deep venous thrombosis (DVT), or blood clot, can develop deep inside veins and typically occurs in the leg. The real danger arises when the clots dislodge from the vein walls and travel through the bloodstream, keeping blood from being delivered to the lungs, a condition known as pulmonary embolism.

The study, which was published in a recent issue of the Journal of American Medical Association, hopes to establish a benchmark for the risk, but many experts say that the risk of clots could be even higher than the study found.

The research team, led by Jean-Marie Januel of the Lausanne University Hospital in Switzerland, assessed the results of 47 studies of nearly 45,000 joint replacement procedures. All patients received preventative measures to reduce blood clot risk, but despite the treatment, the higher number of clots was still reported.

"The authors are trying to estimate the magnitude of the problem among patients who receive the most effective prophylaxis available today," said Dr. John Heit, a cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. "But the risk is actually much higher than the study suggests, he said. "One has to understand the period of risk extends beyond the duration of hospitalization, which these days, is really quite short."

According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, DVT can lead to chronic swelling and pain at the affected site, and valves in blood vessels may become permanently damaged, leading to venous hypertension, which could affect a person's ability to live a full, active life.