A study has shown that having a total hip replacement increases the risk of stroke for a year after the operation, but this risk can be reduced by taking aspirin before surgery.
Aspirin could help reduce risk of stroke after a hip replacement
A hip replacement is a type of surgery where a damaged hip joint is replaced with an artificial one. These operations are very common and carried on hundreds of thousands of people across the world every year.
But according to data from more than 66,000 operations in Denmark, having a total hip replacement increases the odds of a stroke more than fourfold in the two weeks immediately after surgery.
In addition, researchers in the UK and the Netherlands said the probability of having a stroke in the year after surgery was 2%, compared with 0.4% if they did not have the operation. Professor Cyrus Cooper from the University of Southampton said this risk was twice as high as would be expected from general surgery.
Dr Peter Coleman, from the Stroke Association charity, commented: "This research suggests that hip replacement surgery could increase your risk of stroke and the results should be taken very seriously.
"If you are due to undergo a hip operation, it is important that you speak to your GP or hospital consultant beforehand in order to discuss the potential risks."
Interestingly, writing in the journal Stroke, the researchers also discovered that taking anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin appeared to lower this risk.
Professor Cooper said: "This research has demonstrated that there is a high risk of stroke to patients soon after having a total hip replacement and suggests that the use of soluble aspirin might be beneficial in reducing this risk.
"Normally we would have reservations about people taking aspirin every day but our results suggest aspirin is a benefit and worthwhile to give to the patient before the surgery.”
The researchers are now calling for more studies to investigate whether patients should be given medication before surgical procedures.
Total hip replacement costs are covered by most medical insurance policies, but please check with your insurer first.
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