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Preventing post-op blood clots.

Q My husband is going to have a knee replacement, and a friend mentioned that this procedure can put you at risk for a blood clot. How can we ensure this doesn't happen?

A All surgeries carry some risks, one of which is the formation of blood clots in the veins. Studies suggest that in the case of knee replacement, the risk for a postoperative blood clot is greater in people with a history of cardiovascular disease or previous blood clots, as well as in patients who have coexisting medical conditions, including diabetes, liver or kidney disease, and some types of cancer. It's vital to prevent blood clots, since it is possible for a fragment of a clot to break free and travel through the circulatory system to the lungs, where it can cause a pulmonary embolism--a serious and potentially fatal complication.

There are several steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of post-surgery clot formation. One of them is to get up and active within 12 hours of surgery. When your husband is reclining, he will likely need to use a compression device that consists of pneumatic pumps that keep the blood moving through his leg veins. Your husband will also be prescribed medication that helps prevent blood clots.

Sometimes, blood clots form despite taking precautionary measures, so stay alert for symptoms, which include pain and swelling in the calf. Pulmonary embolism symptoms include chest pain and difficulty breathing. Any of these symptoms should be immediately evaluated by a doctor.


Orli R. Etingin, M.D.

Director, Ins Cantor Women's

Health Center

Vice Chairman,

Dept, of Medicine

Professor of Clinical Medicine,

Weill Cornell Medical College

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Title Annotation:ASK DR. ETINGIN
Author:Etingin, Orli R.
Publication:Women's Health Advisor
Article Type:Brief article
Date:Jan 1, 2018
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