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New guideline targets reducing blood clots after hip, knee replacement

October 3, 2011
by root
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The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons has released an updated clinical practice guideline recommending how to reduce the likelihood of blood clots after hip or knee replacement surgery—procedures that more than 800,000 Americans undergo each year.

The new guideline suggests the use of preventive treatments and advises against routinely screening patients after surgery using ultrasound imaging.

Among the preventive measures the experts analyzed for safety and effectiveness are mechanical compression devices, designed to improve blood flow in the legs after surgery, and drug therapy such as anticoagulants and aspirin. The guideline also recommends that patients “get up and walk as soon as safely possible” following a hip or knee replacement.

There is, however, insufficient evidence to recommend any particular preventive strategy or the duration of these treatments, the Academy noted. The guideline is also not intended to be a fixed protocol, as some patients may require more or less treatment or different means of diagnosis.

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