Study Finds More Attention Should be Paid to Blood Clot Risk in Outpatients

Study Finds More Attention Should be Paid to Blood Clot Risk in OutpatientsPatients who receive outpatient surgery should be better warned about the risk for developing dangerous blood clots, says one new study, which found the risk is higher for older or obese patients.

According to HealthDay, experts at the University of Michigan noted that one in 84 patients deemed high-risk develop a blood clot following an outpatient operation. Of all surgeries in the U.S., more than 60 percent are currently performed as an outpatient procedure.

"Outpatient surgery now includes a greater variety of procedures, from plastic surgery to cancer operations and orthopedic surgery, and not all patients are young, healthy individuals," said lead study author Dr. Christopher Pannucci. "These data are in stark contrast to provider and patient expectations that outpatient surgery is a low-risk event."

In the study, the team of researchers analyzed more than 200,000 outpatient surgeries that took place in the U.S., and found most patients showed more than one risk factor for developing a blood clot.

According to the National Library of Medicine, a blood clot, or deep venous thrombosis, typically begins in the large veins in the lower leg and thigh. If the clot breaks free from its position in the vein, it can travel through the bloodstream to the brains, lungs, heart or other area. An embolism, as it is called, can be deadly.

The study, which was published in an April issue of the Annals of Surgery, concluded that better screening of patients must be conducted. The team also stated a tool they had developed can be used by physicians to better measure a patient's risk for blood clot, which could help improve how patients are made aware of the risks.