Deep vein thrombosis (calf blood clot) is an important complication after joint replacement, and strategies to reduce the risk include early mobilisation, compression stockings and medications. For many years, I have prescribed aspirin for my patients having joint replacement, as prevention of DVT. Although this was initially controversial, we felt that the evidence supporting that position was strong, and gradually this has become a mainstream approach. Aspirin provides similar prevention of DVT to more expensive approaches, without the associated increased risks of wound leak that many of the alternatives have been dogged by. There is now increasing evidence, including this recent paper , that the use of aspirin also provides a survival advantage for joint replacement patients. Patients should discuss the risk of clots with their surgeon as part of the informed consent process.
Alasdair Sutherland produces Blog updates aimed at patients and general practitioners, to discuss matters of interest and information relating to orthopaedic issues.