Dangerous blood clots that often develop after hip surgery can be reduced by 96 percent when patients receive about a month's worth of treatment with a new type of blood thinner.
That's the major finding from a new study published in this month's Archives of Internal Medicine. Researchers from Sweden studied about 650 patients who were undergoing surgery for a hip fracture. About half received daily injections of the drug fondaparinux for between 19 and 23 days, while the other half received injections of a placebo. All of the study participants had received six to eight days of treatment with the drug prior to beginning the study.
Researchers were able to measure outcomes in 428 of the patients. The incidence of postoperative venous thromboembolism, a form of deep vein clotting occurring after surgery, was 35 percent in the patients who received placebo vs. 1.4 percent in those who received fondaparinux.
There were no significant differences between the two groups in clinically significant bleeding, although those in the fondaparinux group did trend towards more major bleeding than those in the placebo group.
Finding ways to prevent dangerous blood clots in hip surgery patients is a major concern among doctors, because these patients are at highest risk of any surgical patients for the development of deep vein thrombosis.