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High risk of blood clots after surgery

4th December 2009

Researchers from the University of Oxford say that the risk of blood clot after surgery is higher than previously thought.

heart surgery

There are also concerns that it lasts longer than had earlier been suspected.

The study focused on data from a million women in the UK for six years and found that one in 140 will be admitted to hospital with a blood clot during the 12 weeks after any inpatient surgery, one in 45 after hip or knee replacement surgery, and one in 85 after surgery for cancer.

The figures compare with only one in 6,200 women during a 12-week period without surgery while day surgery was associated with a one in 815 risk.

It established that surgery increased the risk 70 times in the six weeks after an operation, according to the British Medical Journal.

Co-author Dr Jane Green said: “We know quite a lot about the fact blood clots are much more common after surgery but the thing that's new here is the time scale and we now have reliable estimates of that risk.”

John Black, president of the Royal College of Surgeons, said effective preventive treatment had been available since the 1970s but that this study showed the risk period lasted longer than previously appreciated.

He said: “The Department of Health, the House of Commons All-Party Thrombosis Group and the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges among many other groups, are working hard to bring the prevention of venous thrombosis to the top of the clinical agenda for every hospital in the UK.”

 

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