A new study suggests that patients who undergo a knee or hip replacement have an increased chance of heart attack in the short term and an increased risk of blood clots in the long term.
The risk for heart attack decreases over time, but the blood clot risk is elevated, even years later, Fox News reports.
The reason for the elevated risks remain unclear, according to Yuqing Zhang, senior author and professor at Boston University School of Medicine. This study was the first time to show “general population-based evidence that osteoarthritis patients who have total knee or total hip replacement surgery are at increased risk of heart attack,” he said.
Our findings provide the first general population-based evidence that osteoarthritis patients who have total knee or total hip replacement surgery are at increased risk of heart attack in the immediate postoperative period.
The long-term risk of heart attack was insignificant, but risk of blood clots in the lung remained for years after surgery to replace a hip or knee damaged by osteoarthritis.
Zhang and his colleagues studied roughly 40,000 patients with osteoarthritis, age 50 or older. 6,000 patients who had hip replacement surgery were compared to 6,000 who did not have the procedure. Another 13,849 patients who underwent total knee replacement were compared to 13,849 participants who did not undergo surgery.
Within a month after surgery, there were 13 heart attacks among the hip replacement patients, compared to three in the control group. In that same period, there were 35 heart attacks in the knee replacement group compared to four in the control group.
Medical News Today reports that in the follow-up period of 4.2 years, 128 of the patients who had hip replacements had heart attacks, compared to 138 control patients. The research team notes that the risk for heart attack in hip replacement patients is highest in the 6 months following the procedure.
Among the patients who had knee replacements, 306 had a heart attack compared to 286 control patients. The risk for heart attack was significantly greater in the first month after surgery, and slowly declined over time.
In other health news, Researchers found that 10 percent of patients taking aspirin to prevent stroke and heart attack might actually be harming themselves.