Higher risk of blood clots after surgery

Updated: Dec 04, 2009, 00:00 AM IST

London: The risk of having a potentially
fatal blood clot after surgery is higher and lasts for longer
than had previously been thought, research led by the
University of Oxford has said.

This study published in the British Medical Journal
has implications for how drugs like heparin or warfarin are
used after surgery to help prevent blood clots.

Most patients receive these anti-clotting drugs only
while in hospital, or for up to five weeks afterwards for
certain high-risk operations and reduced when they were up and
moving around normally.

Those undergoing day surgery are unlikely to be
considered for preventive therapy at all.

But now research has shown that surgery patients are
still at a higher risk of a clot for seven to 12 weeks after

The risk of blood clots is known to increase after
surgery, particularly after major orthopaedic surgery such as
hip replacements. The risk is thought to be highest during the
first few weeks after an operation but little is known about
the exact pattern and scale of this increased risk.

"We have known for a long time that blood clots are
more common after some kinds of surgery, but we haven`t had a
clear picture of the size of these risks before, or of how
long they last," says Dr Jane Green, one of the study authors
at the Cancer Epidemiology Unit.