Heart attack risk greater after joint surgeries, study finds

People who have had total hip or knee replacement surgery are at a greater risk for a heart attack during the month following the procedure, according to a new study in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatology.

The risk of a heart attack was over eight times greater in the first month after knee replacement surgery and four times greater in the first month after hip replacement surgery compared to those who didn't have the knee or hip replacement surgeries.

Study author Yuqing Zhang, DSc, a professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine, and his colleagues studied almost 14,000 people over the age of 50 with osteoarthritis who had a knee replacement and 6,000 people of the same demographic who had a hip replacement. The researchers compared the data sets to similar groups of people who hadn't undergone knee replacement or hip replacement surgery.

The researchers found the odds of blood clots in veins and lungs increased in the month after surgery, but the likelihood of a heart attack decreased over time.

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