How to Prevent Blood Clots After Surgery
In patients undergoing surgery, deep vein thrombosis is a serious risk factor. When blood clots form inside a deep vein, this condition is known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT). The thigh and the lower leg are the most typical sites of development. Any major operation carries the risk of developing deep vein thrombosis. In particular, patients who undergo procedures involving the hip and legs are in danger.
When a blood clot breaks loose and travels through the veins, it can cause a pulmonary embolism. Reaching the lungs, might obstruct the heart and lungs from receiving oxygenated blood. An embolism in the pulmonary artery is a life-threatening disorder.
After surgery, your doctor will lay out a plan to reduce your risk of developing blood clots.
What surgical procedures may cause blood clots?
Clots can form after any operation but are especially common following:
- Major procedures involve the abdominal area, pelvis, hips, or legs.
- The risk of developing DVT or PE is increased in the event of certain surgical procedures.
- Replacement of the knee or hip
- Bypass grafting of both the peripheral and coronary arteries
- Invasive cancer surgery
- Body-wide incisions
- Other major operations
Why does it happen?
Because of the prolonged bed rest required after this and other surgeries, deep vein thrombosis is an increased risk. Reduced blood flow in the deep veins increases the risk of a blood clot forming when you stop moving. Blood clot risk can also be increased by other aspects of surgical procedures, such as:
- How long or extensive was the process was
- Given the nature of the surgical procedure, the way you had to position yourself
- What kind of anesthetic is administered
The risk of developing a blood clot is highest in the first week after surgery, between days 2 and 10, but it will stay elevated for the next three months.
Why is it crucial to avoid blood clots following surgery?
If a clot forms in a vein and prevents blood from flowing to an organ, it is considered a medical emergency. When this occurs in the larger veins of the legs or arms, it is called a deep vein thrombosis (DVT), and it can lead to discomfort and swelling. Nevertheless, clots in the veins might manifest elsewhere as well. If they spread to vital organs, they might cause even more trouble.
One of the worst possible outcomes of venous thromboembolism is a pulmonary embolism (PE) (a venous clot that has traveled and got stuck elsewhere). According to the best doctors, a clot in the bloodstream (often in the leg) makes its way to the veins in the lungs and becomes lodged there. Serious lung and cardiac difficulties can result from a blood clot, especially if the clot is huge and closes off more than one vein, or if there are multiple blood clots in the lung. A person’s life may end suddenly as a result.
In a nutshell, here is the most crucial justification for reporting post-operative blood clots: There is an increased danger of pulmonary embolisms (PEs) following surgery, and PEs can be fatal.
What kinds of treatments are there to stop a blood clot?
Treatments that are both easy and effective exist. Your health depends on your ability to comprehend and adhere to the directions of the medical staff.
1. Therapy via mechanical methods
You may be advised by your medical staff to use anti-embolism stockings (also called compression or TED stockings). Tight stockings like this encourage faster blood flow in the legs. Your healthcare staff will take measurements of your legs to determine the proper size and will demonstrate proper use.
Intermittent pneumatic compression devices force the blood to flow through your legs by automatically inflating at set intervals.
Compression garments and stockings are renowned for provoking skin breakdown and other unpleasant symptoms in certain people. Only if they are improperly fitted will this occur. If your legs don’t get enough blood, you’re more at risk.
One way to accomplish this is to take anticoagulant medicine, which lessens the likelihood of blood clots forming.
Subcutaneous (under the skin) injections of medication may be recommended by medical personnel, depending on the severity of your condition. Other oral (by mouth) medications can be suggested to you.
Medications are rarely suggested by medical staff for patients who are bleeding or who are at high risk of bleeding. Your healthcare team, however, will need to weigh the potential for excessive bleeding against the possibility of a blood clot.
What can I do to lower my risk?
- Whenever you can, get up and move around. Even if you are confined to a bed or chair, it is important to keep your feet and legs active. Stay away from crossing your legs and feet.
- Avoid dehydration by consuming large quantities of water. The medical staff will let you know when and how much fluids you can consume.
- If you smoke cigarettes, giving up the habit may lower your risk of getting a blood clot and improve your overall health in the long run.
- Stay at a healthy weight. If you’re obese, you’re more likely to have a blood clot.
- You should be as active as possible at home because most blood clots don’t form until after a patient has been discharged from the hospital. If you’ve been prescribed medication or told to use compression stockings, make sure you completely grasp and adhere to all associated instructions.
There is a potential for blood clots to form following surgery. Before surgery, your vascular surgeon will assess your risk factors for deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism and provide recommendations to help you avoid developing either condition. Yet, it is still crucial to know the signs of blood clots.
1. How to prevent DVT before surgery
You should give off smoking immediately. You should also make an effort to lose any excess weight. If you want to stop smoking or reduce your weight, consult your doctor.
2. How often after surgery should you get up and walk about to avoid getting a blood clot?
Keep moving about the house and switching up your routine. Leg exercises every hour and a posture change every two hours are recommended for those on bed rest.
3. What factors contribute to the prevalence of post-operative blood clots?
After surgery, you risk having your blood thicken around bits of tissue, debris, fat, or collagen that are released into your system. Similarly, vein injury during surgery increases the risk of blood clot formation.