Blood Clots: A Common, Deadly And Often Preventable Complication
Blood clots are one of the most common and dangerous complications of orthopedic surgery. These clots typically form in the blood vessels of the legs (deep vein thrombosis). They can travel to the lungs, heart or brain, blocking the blood supply to these vital organs and leading to:
- Pulmonary embolism
- Respiratory failure
- Cardiac arrest
Understanding The Risk
Any surgery poses a risk of deadly blood clots. During the surgery itself as well as recovery, you’re immobilized, which leads to slower blood flow.
Certain orthopedic surgeries — such as knee replacements and hip replacements — put patients in even greater danger. At least half of patients undergoing these surgeries develop clots in their legs. Five percent develop pulmonary emboli from clots that break off and go to the lungs. Unless they receive adequate preventative treatments, about 2 percent will die from blood clots, especially if they have risk factors such as:
- Heart disease
- Blood clotting disorders
- Tobacco use
- Older age
- Certain medications (such as oral contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy)
The Importance Of Prevention
Preventing blood clots is much more effective than treating them. Symptoms of these clots are unreliable, and by the time they appear, it may be too late. As a result, doctors should ensure that patients follow preventative measures such as:
- Anticoagulants (blood-thinners)
- Compression stockings or medical devices that improve blood flow in the legs
- Light exercise, when tolerated
Get A Professional Legal Opinion — Free Consultation
If you or a loved one has suffered a serious blood clot following surgery, and you believe preventative measures weren’t taken, you may have a medical malpractice claim. Call 1-877-LAW-DOCS to speak with our legal team at Barry D. Lang, M.D. & Associates. Our attorneys know what to look for when analyzing these cases. We work with physicians on staff to provide prompt and thorough guidance on your legal options.
To learn more, contact us for a free consultation. Our office is conveniently located in the Boston area of Massachusetts.