Best anticoagulants depends on type of surgery

17 July 2014

New analysis, published in the Journal of Hospital Medicine, gives guidance about what medication is most suitable after different types of surgery.

Currently, there are no guidelines that determine whether aspirin or more potent blood thinners are appropriate for reducing a patient's risk of developing blood clots after undergo major orthopaedic operations. 

This means the decision is up to the individual clinician's judgement and can be problematic as prescribing the wrong anticoagulant could worsen bleeding; a serious complication after surgery. There are varying schools of thought over which is the best medication to use: aspirin or anticoagulants, such as warfarin. 

Researchers compiled and compared all relevant studies that have looked at these agents following hip or knee surgery. Their analysis, which included eight randomised trials and 1,408 patients, found that aspirin can be a good option following a hip or knee replacement, but after hip fracture repair, anticoagulation therapy appears to be more beneficial.

Lead author Dr Frank Drescher, of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in White River Junction, Vermont, said: "We hope our findings may guide physicians trying to help their patients make decisions about how to best minimise surgical risks."

Posted by Philip Briggs​


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