Pulmonary embolism (PE) is a blood clot that travels from the leg to the lungs.
Previous research has indicated that the risk of PE following total joint replacement (TJR) surgery is well established, yet little is known about the natural course and timing of this potentially fatal condition.
In the study, "Pulmonary Embolism Following Total Joint Arthroplasty: When Do They Occur?", presented at the 2012 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), researchers reviewed the records of 25,660 patients who received TJR between 2000 and 2010. All patients received the anticoagulation (blood thinning) drug Coumadin immediately following surgery and each was monitored, but not screened, for PE. Pulmonary embolism occurring within 90 days of the joint replacement was documented.