A recent study indicates that contrary to current assumptions, osteoarthritis patients undergoing total knee or hip replacement surgeries are at higher risk of heart attack.
The findings of the Boston-based study refer strictly to early post-surgery period. According to the study featuring in the Arthritis & Rheumatology journal, the increased risk of heart attack or myocardial infarction does not persist on the long-term. However, the risk of suffering blood clots in the lungs or veins (thromboembolism) persists for years after the patients underwent surgeries.
The study, led by Yuqing Zhang – Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology with the Boston University School of Medicine in Boston, Massachusetts, looked specifically at 13,849 osteoarthritis patients that underwent either total knee or hip joint replacement surgeries in the timeframe spanning January 2000 – December 2012. The control group was composed of another 13,849 patients who did not undergo surgery.
Overall, the findings indicated that during the first month following the surgeries, the risk of suffering a heart attack was high. Fewer patients in the non-surgery group faced the same risk.
However, the research team draws attention to the fact that this risk should not prevent people from undergoing either procedure. The risk of heart attacks dissipates over time, albeit the risk of developing thromboembolism remaining high in the postoperative period.
According to the researchers, the study is rather aiming at raising awareness in the medical community. At the same time, it is necessary that new ways to cope with these heightened risks are found.
“The reasons for increased risk of heart attack for these and other types of surgery are many, and to date approaches such as use of heart medications, such as aspirin, beta blockers and alpha blockers, have generally not been successful in lowering the risk,”
stated Doctor Zhang.
Statistics from the U.S. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases reveal that in the U.S., 27 million people over the age of 25 are affected by osteoarthritis. Considering the negative effects it has on joints, both knee and hip replacements are valid options for relieving pain and the stiffness most patients are prone to.
Worldwide, 1.8 million surgeries of the type are performed on an yearly basis. To this extent, the findings of this study are crucial for patients and the medical community alike in alleviating the possible risks stemming from undergoing knee or hip replacement.
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