Obesity and the Risk of Venous Thromboembolism in Total Joint Arthroplasty

Abstract

Patients undergoing total hip or knee arthroplasty have a varying risk of developing venous thromboembolism during the perioperative period, and factors such as obesity have been recognized to increase this risk. In general, the risk of venous thromboembolism in obese patients is considerable. Estimates from 2007 through 2010 suggest that more than one third of adults in the United States are obese (BMI >30 kg/m) and 1 in 20 is morbidly obese (BMI >40 kg/m). Specific obesity-related issues continue to challenge the joint replacement surgeon, including management of venous impairment and the appropriate use of pharmacologic prophylaxis before and after surgery. In addition, obese patients may require a longer stay in the hospital, longer surgery, and are more likely to be readmitted to the hospital than nonobese patients. All members of the health care team should be aware of the special needs of these patients in order to maintain their quality of care.

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