Knee & Hip Replacement Increase Cardiac Risk
Surgery for total knee and hip replacement sharply boosts heart attack risks in the weeks following the procedure, according to a new study.
Research conducted at Utrecht University in the Netherlands found that patients undergoing those surgeries were, on average, 30 times more likely to have a heart attack within two weeks of having the procedures. The finding is significant because the operations are common, with more than 2 million performed each year around the world.
After two weeks, the risk dropped sharply.
The study analyzed 95,000 patients who underwent the replacement surgeries between 1998 and 2007 and compared that group with 265,000 people who didn’t have any surgeries. Among people who had total knee replacements, the risk of heart attacks was 25 times likelier than those who didn’t have knee replacements, while the comparable figure was 31 for those who had total hip replacements.
Lead researcher Dr. Arief Lalmohamed said that the side effect of the operations likely contributed to the increased risk. Side effects include the lingering influence of anesthesia, a lack of oxygen, and irregular heartbeat. All those are indicators of an increased risk of heart attack.
The risk was highest in those 60 or older , and especially in patients 80 or older, and people of any age who had heart surgery in the six months before the replacement procedure.
While researchers cautioned that the study didn’t show a definitive cause and effect relationship, they also said that the findings indicated the need for careful pre-surgical analysis of cardiac risk as well as the continued use of heart medications and aspirin. The patient’s post-surgical heart health also needs to be monitored carefully, they said.
The study was published online in the “Archives of Internal Medicine.”