TUESDAY, Sept. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers have
identified risk factors for the development of potentially fatal
blood clots following total hip replacement surgery.
A Danish team reviewed the records of more than 67,000 patients
who underwent total hip replacement over a 10-year period. They
found that about 1 percent of patients developed a blood clot
within a deep vein or blood vessel blockage within 90 days of
This condition -- known as venous thromboembolism -- consists of
two related problems. Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot
that forms in a deep vein, usually in the thigh or calf. Pulmonary
embolism (PE) occurs when a blood clot breaks free and travels
through the veins and ends up blocking a blood vessel in the
The study, published in the September issue of
The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, pinpointed a number of factors that increased the risk of a deep vein blood clot or a pulmonary embolism, including:
- Previous hospitalization for a DVT or PE.
- Previous hospitalization for cardiovascular or cerebrovascular
- Presence of other diseases or disorders prior to surgery,
including dementia, chronic pulmonary disease, connective tissue
disease and ulcer disease.
Dr. Alma Pedersen of Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark and
colleagues were surprised to find that age and gender were not risk
factors, which meant that younger patients were also at risk for
blood clot complications. In addition, they found that patients
previously hospitalized for cancer treatment were not at increased
risk, and that patients with rheumatoid arthritis had a lower risk
than those with osteoarthritis.
"According to previous literature, we expected the opposite results," Pedersen said.
Patients who have undergone a total hip replacement should seek
immediate medical attention if they experience any symptoms of
blood clot or pulmonary embolism, including leg pain, swelling,
redness or warmth in a limb or calf, as well as anxiety, shortness
of breath, chest pain, coughing or coughing up blood, or
palpitations, the study authors noted in a news release from the
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
The U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has more
prevention and treatment of blood clots.