Information for patients undergoing major orthopedic surgery
What is a venous blood clot?
Venous blood clots originate in the blood vessels that transport the blood back to heart and from there to the lungs. Venous thromboembolism
(VTE) can take the form of either a deep vein thrombosis
(DVT), a blood clot in a deep vein (usually in the leg), or a pulmonary embolism (PE), a potentially life-threatening blood clot blocking a vessel in the lungs.14
is one of the most frequent and serious complications following hip or knee replacement surgery. And studies show that about half of the patients undergoing major orthopaedic surgery
will develop venous blood clots if they do not receive preventive care.6
Methods for preventing VTE
The methods for preventing VTE
can be divided into 2 categories: mechanical and pharmaceutical. Recent guidelines recommend the routine use of antithrombotic agents for surgical patients at highest risk of VTE
(eg, those undergoing elective hip replacement or knee replacement surgery).
These guidelines are considered by many to be the “gold standard” for preventing thromboembolism.
The guidelines also say that mechanical methods (such as compression stockings) should be used primarily in patients who are at high risk of bleeding or in addition to antithrombotic therapy.6
- 14 - Turpie AG, Chin BS, Lip GY. Venous thromboembolism: pathophysiology, clinical features, and prevention. BMJ. 2002;325(7369):887-890.
- 6 - Geerts WH, Bergqvist D, Pineo GF, et al. Prevention of venous thromboembolism: American College of Chest Physicians Evidence-Based Clinical Practice Guidelines (8th Edition). Chest. 2008;133(6 suppl):381S-453S.
- Formation of a clot inside a blood vessel.
- Venous thromboembolism
- A disease process beginning with a blood clot occurring within the venous system, including deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism.
- Major orthopaedic surgery
- Major operations on the bones or joints including total hip or knee replacement surgery.