Knee, hip replacement surgery puts older adults at risk for heart attack
People who are older than 60 who undergo knee or hip replacement surgery are at risk of having a heart attack in the weeks immediately following surgery, a new study shows. One in 200 older patients experience a heart attack in the six weeks following hip surgery, and 1 in 500 experience a heart attack in the six weeks following knee surgery. Elderly patients over the age of 80 are at greater risk.
The study does not prove the surgeries cause heart attacks, but doctors speculate the stress of undergoing surgery and the disruption of the flow of blood and oxygen may play a role in triggering cardiovascular events.
Hip replacement surgeries are usually performed on patients whose hips have been damaged by arthritis, a fracture or other conditions. Because these conditions can worsen over time, hip replacement surgeries are usually performed on older adults. Artificial hips can reduce pain and restore mobility to patients with damaged hip joints. The implants are designed to last 20 years or longer.
Traditional hip implants are made with ceramic or plastic parts, but in the past decade some devices have been made with all-metal parts with the idea that they would hold up better over time. But studies show that the metal-on-metal implants fail at a higher rate than traditional implants, which requires patients to undergo revision surgery to remove and replace the defective device.
Revision surgery is often more invasive and requires longer recovery. The new study suggests that for older adults, undergoing another hip replacement surgery can put them at risk for heart attack.
Source: USA Today