After a total joint replacement procedure, anticoagulation or blood thinning drug can prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) which is a blood clot deep inside the extremities or pulmonary embolism, which is complicated state causing blood clot to reach lungs. However there exists risk of developing infection and hemorrhage if these therapies are used for long.
Hip and Knee anthroplasty (joint replacement surgery) is one of the most successful procedures when it comes to restoring function with less pain. However one possible complication associated with the surgery that surgeons are concerned is the incidence of Proximal Deep Vein Thrombosis and Pulmonary Embolism.
A study presented at the 2012 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons showed that Aspirin was useful in preventing Proximal Deep Vein Thrombosis and Pulmonary Embolism in TKA and THA as seen in the analysis of 1500 cases. The researchers conducted a venography which is a test for DVT, before and after hip or knee surgery on those 1500 patients. Immediately after the surgery pat8ients were given foot pump and elastic stocking to wear. Also all the patients were given a regular dose of aspirin for two days after surgery.
The occurrence of DVT was 19.2 percent, with 32.7 percent in total knee replacement and 5.6 percent in total hip replacement patients, which was below average. There was incidence of PE cases turning severe and neither any complications caused by Aspirin. Higher risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis was due to factors like age and high patient body mass index. It was thus concluded that Aspirin along with foot pump and wearing stockings was a safe option for therapy in preventing DVT and PE in most of the patients with joint replacement. However patients who were at higher risk for DVT required use of anticoagulation therapies.
The increased risk of pulmonary embolism (PE), a blood clot that travels from legs to the lungs, post total joint replacement surgery has been well-established however natural course and timing of this condition is not yet known clearly. In 2012 Annual Meeting of AAOS, investigators reviewed the records of 25, 660 patients with TJR and it was found that each patient received anticoagulation drug Coumadin post surgery and were monitored and not screened for Pulmonary embolism. It was concluded from this study that anticoagulation treatment was not necessary beyond seven days.