Men at Greater Risk for Heart Attack After Joint Replacement!

The news just doesn’t ever seem to get better for joint replacements!  In the wake of all the studies demonstrating the incidence of serious hip and knee replacement risks and complications, a new study finds that men experience a much greater joint replacement heart attack risk following total hip or knee replacement surgery.

Why would joint replacement increase the risk of heart attack at all? To understand that, you need to understand that a joint replacement is actually the amputation of that joint with the insertion of a prosthesis. When you completely cut out a joint from a patient there is severe trauma to the blood vessels and bone marrow space. This likely leads to a higher risk of blood clots, some of which may make it to the heart. In addition, for some patients, the physical stress to the body of undergoing the joint amputation may be enough alone.

This new study identified 37,881 total hip replacement patients and 59, 564 total knee replacement patients. To isolate complications related to sex, the researchers used metrics to adjust for age, provider volume, frailty and comorbidity and included outcomes between 90 days to 2 years from surgery. The results were very concerning but not surprising.  Male total hip patients had a significantly greater risk of acute myocardial infarction (heart attack). Male total knee replacement patients  had a 79% risk of acute myocardial infarction, a 67% risk of deep infection and a 49% risk for revision. Female patients were considered to be healthier overall, and though there was a much greater incidence of frailty, it did not impact heart attack risk.

The upshot?  There will always be cases in which joint replacement is necessary. However, given that research has shown 1/3 of knee replacements performed have no medical basis, and recent data has shown there have been significant increases in the number of knee replacements being done as a result of recent changes to the healthcare system, these statistics are concerning.  Hopefully, further studies will be done and eventually the research on which patients are at risk for things like chronic pain and heart attacks will filter down to the physicians and medical systems performing these surgeries.  In the meantime, being an informed patient is more important than ever.

Learn More About Regenexx® Procedures
Request a digital booklet and more information to learn about alternatives to orthopedic surgery and the Regenexx patient experience.
We do not sell, or share your information to third party vendors. By submitting the form you agree that you've read and consent to our Privacy Policy.
Chris Centeno, MD is a specialist in regenerative medicine and the new field of Interventional Orthopedics. Centeno pioneered orthopedic stem cell procedures in 2005 and is responsible for a large amount of the published research on stem cell use for orthopedic applications. View Profile

If you have questions or comments about this blog post, please email us at [email protected]

NOTE: This blog post provides general information to help the reader better understand regenerative medicine, musculoskeletal health, and related subjects. All content provided in this blog, website, or any linked materials, including text, graphics, images, patient profiles, outcomes, and information, are not intended and should not be considered or used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please always consult with a professional and certified healthcare provider to discuss if a treatment is right for you.