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Best Anticoagulants After Orthopedic Procedures Depend On Type Of The Surgery: Study

Update Date: Jul 17, 2014 10:13 AM EDT

Present guidelines doesn't differentiate between aspirin and more potent blood thinners for protecting against blood clots in patients who undergo major orthopedic operations. As a result the decision has to be taken by the individual clinicians. 

A new study provides the much-needed information summarizing existing studies about which medications are best after various types of surgery. 

Researchers considered all relevant studies that compared anticoagulants or blood thinners following hip or knee surgery. The study included 8 randomized trials and 1408 patients. 

The analysis revealed that for hip or knee replacement, aspirin may be a good option because that is as effective as heparin or warfarin for preventing blood clots but with less risk of bleeding. 

"We expect that the number of hip and knee replacements and hip fracture repairs will continue to grow as the population ages. Major complications after these procedures-often clots or bleeding-contribute to suffering and costs," said lead author Frank Drescher, MD of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in White River Junction, Vermont, in the press release. "We hope our findings may guide physicians trying to help their patients make decisions about how to best minimize surgical risks."

The analysis is published in the Journal of Hospital Medicine

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