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Post-Op Thromboembolism Risk Persists in Women

Last Updated: December 04, 2009.

Middle-aged women who undergo inpatient surgery have a greatly elevated risk of venous thromboembolism in the weeks and months after surgery compared to women who have not had surgery, according to a study published Dec. 3 in BMJ.

FRIDAY, Dec. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Middle-aged women who undergo inpatient surgery have a greatly elevated risk of venous thromboembolism in the weeks and months after surgery compared to women who have not had surgery, according to a study published Dec. 3 in BMJ.

Sian Sweetland, Ph.D., of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, and colleagues assembled data on 947,454 middle-aged women who participated in the Million Women Study. The researchers analyzed data on hospital admissions, surgeries and deaths and estimated relative risks and incidence rates for hospital admission or death from venous thromboembolism, pulmonary embolism, and deep vein thrombosis, after various types of surgery.

The researchers found that women who were admitted for surgery were 70 times more likely to be develop venous thromboembolism within six weeks after the surgery than women who had not had surgery (relative risk, 69.1). The relative risks declined with time but remained significantly higher for months for the women who had surgery: seven to 12 weeks after surgery, 19.6; four to six months, 9.4; seven to nine months, 6.1; and 10 to 12 months, 3.7. The risk pattern was similar for pulmonary embolism and deep venous thrombosis. The surgeries posing the highest risk at one to six weeks were hip or knee replacement and cancer surgery (relative risks, 220.6 and 91.6, respectively).

"These findings suggest that the risk of venous thromboembolism after surgery is greater and lasts for longer than previously thought," the authors write.

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