The Archives of Internal Medicine has reported through an online-first publication that patients who have undergone total hip replacements (“THR”) or total knee replacements (“TKR”) are at a higher risk of suffering a heart attack within the first two weeks following the procedure.
The THR and TKR procedures at issue are common surgeries used to treat moderate to severe osteoarthritis. In fact, it is believed that approximately 1.8 million THR and TKR surgeries are performed each year worldwide.
The study focused on Danish national registries for THR and TKR patients from January, 1998 through December, 2007. This population was ultimately matched against 286,165 individual control cases. The mean average age for THR and TKR patients were 72 and 67 years of age, respectively. The study concluded that THR patients were at a 25-fold higher risk of suffering a post-surgery heart attack, while TKR surgery recipients’ risk increased 31-fold. The association, which was strongest among patients 80 years or older, decreased sharply after six weeks post-surgery. As one may expect, the risk ratio increased if there was a prior heart attack within six months in both THR and TKR scenarios.
One doctor from the University of California opined, “[t]he perioperative period is stressful to patients . . . . The present study once again confirms that the perioperative period increases cardiac risk. Physicians must go further than establishing risk factors; physicians must actively work to reduce perioperative risk.”