Importance of Blood Thinners After Surgery

Joint replacement surgery is one of the most prescribed treatments for hip and knee diseases. Experts say that most patients have a normal recovery following a joint replacement. However, there are potential complications. One complication is the risk of developing blood clots after surgery. Blood thinners, also referred to as anticoagulants, are the most common way to both prevent and treat blood clots, as they reduce the body’s normal blood-clotting capacity.

The best length of time to take blood thinning drugs has not been exactly identified, but there are guidelines that may be followed. According to medical experts, the length of time patients take an anticoagulation medication depends on the type of surgery, and the type of anticoagulation medication being used.

Blood clots are good when they help seal a cut to stop bleeding. However, blood clots may form when it is not needed. This type of blood clot may result in health complications or even death.

A blood clot is described like a jelly-like mass of thickened blood. The body normally forms a blood clot to stop bleeding. After hip surgery there will be a blood clot near the new hip joint. This is normal and not risky. However, if a blood clot forms inside a vein, it may block the normal flow of blood and cause temporary and long-term health problems. This condition may result in pain, tenderness and swelling of the leg. When a blood clot occurs in one of the main veins of the body, usually a leg or pelvic vein after hip surgery, it is called a deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

Aside from taking anticoagulants like Xarelto (rivaroxaban), ways to prevent blood clot after surgery may include early mobilization and activity, elevation of the feet, ankle exercises, elastic stockings, compression devices that passively help blood flow in the legs.

Experts also note other risk factors that heighten the risk of blood clotting. These include history of previous deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism, cancer, obesity, and conditions that predispose to abnormal clotting. For instance, a family history of deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism or known medical condition associated with increased clotting.

When taking anticoagulants or blood thinners, bleeding may become a dangerous side effect, upon which the doctor will need to monitor and adjust the dosage. Actually, hip replacement patients are warned about the uncontrolled bleeding tendencies caused by anticoagulants.

References:


effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov/index.cfm/search-for-guides-reviews-and-reports/?productid=1144&pageaction=displayproduct
homecare.com/blood-thinners-after-surgery
orthopedics.about.com/od/hipkneereplacement/f/dvt.htm

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