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Reducing VTE Risk After Hip & Knee Replacement

Venous thromboembolism (VTE), which encompasses deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE), is one of the most common reasons for readmission following primary hip or knee replacement surgery. However, recent studies suggest that only 0.7% to 0.9% of patients undergoing hip or knee replacements require rehospitalization because of VTE in the first 3 months after surgery. “These surgeries put patients at risk for thromboembolic disease because they affect multiple aspects of Virchow’s triad,” explains Joshua J. Jacobs, MD. Virchow’s triad consists of hypercoagulability, venous stasis, and injury to the vascular endothelium. All three components of the triad can be present following hip or knee replacement surgery and predispose individuals to thrombosis, according to Dr. Jacobs. “DVT occurs in about 37% of patients following primary hip or knee replacement surgery who have not been treated with prophylactic agents. The rate of clinically symptomatic VTE events is far less, but VTE should be an important concern of orthopedic surgeons performing these procedures.” New Guidelines on Preventing VTE Dr. Jacobs chaired a workgroup that updated guidelines from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) on preventing VTE in patients undergoing elective hip and knee arthroplasty. The guidelines were released on September 24, 2011 and are available for free at www.aaos.org/guidelines. “The AAOS felt it was necessary to update these guidelines for the first time since 2007 because of the increasing availability of study data that impacted the previous recommendations and to maintain inclusion in the AHRQ’s National Guideline Clearinghouse, which requires an update every 5 years,” says Dr. Jacobs. The American College of Chest Physicians has also published guidelines on VTE...

Conference Highlights: The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons 2011

This feature highlights some of the studies that emerged from the 2011 AAOS annual meeting, including data supporting the long-term function of total knee replacement (TKR), imaging costs linked to defensive medicine, PE risks after knee arthroplasty, and the effect of stretching before running. » TKR Improves Function for the Long-Term » PE Risks After Knee Arthroplasty » Are Two TKRs Better Than One? » The Effects of Stretching Before Running » Imaging Costs Linked to Defensive Medicine TKR Improves Function for the Long Term The Particulars: Most patients who undergo total knee replacement (TKR) are between the ages of 60 and 80. More than 90% of these individuals experience a dramatic reduction in knee pain and a significant improvement in their ability to perform common activities. However, questions have been raised about the decline in physical function over the long term despite the absence of implant-related problems. Data Breakdown: Between 1975 and 1989, a study looked at TKRs performed in 128 patients who were living at 20 years follow-up. The average age at operation was 63.8. Of the study participants, 95 could walk at least five blocks when assessed at 20 years follow-up, and 48% reported unlimited walking ability. All but two patients could negotiate up and down stairs without a banister. Only three patients were considered housebound, and no implant failures were observed after 20 years. Take Home Pearls: Elderly recipients of TKR appear to be using their surgically replaced knees for fairly active lifestyles many years after surgery. This study refutes the perception that well-functioning TKRs diminish over time because of an overall declining functional status. PE Risks After...
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