New guidelines for knee and hip replacements issued

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New clinical treatment guidelines for preventing blood clots after hip or knee replacements emphasize preventive measures and caution against post-operative ultrasound tests.

The updated guidelines, released by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, recommend that prior to surgery, patients should stop taking antiplatelet medications such as aspirin and Plavix. More than 800,000 Americans have hip or knee replacement surgeries each year.

Patients should not undergo post-operative ultrasound screening for thromboembolic disease, according to the guidelines, as this test does not significantly reduce the rate of symptomatic deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism. The guidelines recommend that patients receive anticoagulant drug therapy, and encourage the use of mechanical compression devices to improve blood flow. Healthcare providers also should encourage patients to walk again as soon as possible.

Click here to read the full guidelines.


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