Risk of hemorrhagic stroke rises by 4.4 percent and ischemic stroke by 4.7 percent for the first two weeks following total hip replacement surgery, suggests a new study found in the American Heart Association journal Stroke.

Frank de Vries, Ph.D., Pharm.D., the study’s lead author and assistant professor of pharmacoepidemiology at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, says, “This is the first study to evaluate the risk of stroke in patients undergoing total hip replacement compared to people in the general population who did not undergo the surgery, but were matched for age, sex and geographical region.”

Recently there has been an increased likelihood to limit the length of a hospital stay because of better therapy and outcomes like reduced expenses, providing good reasons to investigate the risk of stroke two weeks after surgery.

Previous studies have told us that discharging a patiently safely within 2 to 3 days after surgery reduces hospital costs and improves patient satisfaction. Patients normally begin therapy one day post surgery and stop pain medicine as well.

A hemorrhagic stroke is brought on by bleeding in the brain, while an ischemic stroke is brought on by artery blockage.

The team of researchers looked at the timing of strokes during the first two weeks following total hip replacement surgery; in two to six weeks; six to twelve weeks, three to six months; and six to twelve months.

For the first 12 weeks following surgery, the risk for hemorrhagic stroke remained high, while the risk of ischemic stroke was also high for the first six weeks after surgery.

Frank de Vries said, “Up to one year following surgery, there is diminishing risk of stroke after six to 12 weeks. At one year, the stroke risk is comparable to those who did not undergo surgery.”

Total hip replacement is extremely common and effective in the United States and Europe. Researchers said around 1 million of these types of surgeries are done around the world every year, 300,000 in the United States.

The investigators found 66,583 patients in Danish registries who endured total hip replacement surgery and compared them to 199,995 who did not have that surgery. Study subjects were mainly Caucasian, on average 72 years old, and 63.1 percent women.

Researchers also analyzed the role of several drugs in decreasing stroke risk. The results reveal that patients who are taking aspirin a smaller risk of stroke by a near 70 percent, compared to those people not taking aspirin. Other medication showed no effect.

The research team plans to further their examination of stroke risk after total hip replacement surgery in different populations.

Written by Kelly Fitzgerald