Older individuals who undergo knee or hip replacement are at high risk for myocardial infarction (MI) [heart attack] in the first postoperative month, a general population-based study found.
In the long run, joint replacements benefit the heart health.
Among those with hip OA who underwent hip arthroplasty, 128 had a heart attack during follow-up, compared with 138 controls. However, the team notes heart attack incidence was higher for hip arthroplasty patients in the first 6 months following the procedure, before declining to a lower level than those who did not have surgery.
The researchers also found that patients who underwent hip or knee arthroplasty were at greater risk of VTE - a collective term for deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE) - years after the procedure, compared with controls.
DVT occurs when a blood clot forms in a deep vein, most commonly in the lower leg, thigh or pelvis. PE is a common complication of DVT, occurring when a blood clot breaks off and makes its way to the lungs via the bloodstream. It is estimated that around 300,000-600,000 people in the US develop DVT or PE every year.
Title of the research article: “Total joint arthroplasty and the risk of myocardial infarction - a general population, propensity score-matched cohort study,” Yuqing Zhang et al., Arthritis & Rheumatology, doi: 10.1002/art.39246, published online 31 August 2015, abstract.