People who undergo total knee or hip replacement surgery are at greater risk for heart attack during the first month following the procedure.
The researchers’ analyzed nearly 14,000 individuals aged 50 or more with osteoarthritis who had a total knee replacement between January 2000 and December 2000. They compared these patients with a similar number of people who didn’t have the procedure. In addition, the scientists assessed more than 6,000 people over the age of 50 with the condition who underwent a total hip replacement and compared them with a similar number of people who didn’t have one.
The study revealed that the risk of myocardial infarction was eight times higher in the first month after knee replacement surgery compared to the people who didn’t have the procedure. The risk of a heart attack was four times greater during the month following total hip replacement. They also found that patients who underwent arthroplasty were at greater risk of venous thromboembolism years after the procedure.
“Our findings provide the first general population-based evidence that osteoarthritis patients who have total knee or total hip replacement surgery are at increased risk of heart attack in the immediate postoperative period,” said lead researcher Yuqing Zhang, a professor of medicine and epidemiology at Boston University School of Medicine.
Majority of the osteoarthritis patients are treated with noninvasive methods such as weight control, physical therapy and medication. However, more severe cases may require a joint replacement, known as arthroplasty. Around 1.8 million arthroplasty procedures are conducted worldwide each year.
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease characterized by a breakdown of the joint cartilage causing the bones underneath to rub together. The most common symptoms are pain, stiffness and reduced mobility of the joint. It most commonly occurs in the joints of the hand, spine, hips, knees and great toes.
The degenerative disease is the most common form of arthritis worldwide, affecting about 4% of people as of 2010. Before 45 years of age it is more common in men, while after 45 years of age it is more common in women. IMAGE/telegraph