Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Surgical-site infections may increase risk of deadly blood clots after colorectal surgery

Johns Hopkins research suggests routine preventive measures won't stop all clots

Despite receiving blood thinners and other clot prevention treatment, some patients still develop potentially lethal blood clots in the first month after their operations anyway, especially if they developed a surgical-site infection while in the hospital, according to results of a study at Johns Hopkins.

The research, described in a report published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons, found that patients who experience a surgical-site infection after their abdominal surgery are four times more likely than infection-free patients to develop a deep-vein thrombosis (DVT) in the legs, or its more deadly cousin, a pulmonary embolism (PE) in the lungs. While only 4 percent of patients developed a DVT, 92 percent of those who did had received prophylaxis that previous research has shown is the best practice for prevention.

"We need heightened awareness about the potential for venous thromboembolism (VTE) in patients with surgical-site infections," says study leader Susan L. Gearhart, M.D., an associate professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. "We need to think beyond the prophylaxis we are already giving these patients. We need to think smarter."

Nearly all surgical patients at The Johns Hopkins Hospital are routinely given proven treatments to prevent VTEs, usually the regular administration of low-dose blood thinners and the use of compression devices to keep blood flowing in the legs. Typically the treatments cease when people are discharged from the hospital.

Gearhart notes that much work in hospitals has gone into ensuring compliance with prophylaxis measures, including automated checklists to remind health care workers of their importance. VTEs are considered a form of preventable harm, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services may penalize hospitals where patients develop clots after some orthopedic procedures. But this new study shows that even when hospitals comply with prevention guidelines, VTEs can still occur.

For their study, Gearhart and her colleagues reviewed the records of 615 adults who underwent colorectal surgery at The Johns Hopkins Hospital between July 2009 and July 2011. Twenty-five (4.1 percent) developed VTE. Among patients who experienced a VTE, 92 percent had been given risk-appropriate VTE prophylaxis.

What was even more interesting to Gearhart, she says, was that 14 of the 25 patients with VTE (56 percent) also developed postoperative infections compared with 168 patients (28.5 percent) without VTE. The infectious complications in nine of the 14 patients (64.3 percent) occurred prior to or on the same day as the VTE. She says she had never before seen a link between infections and VTE in surgical patients.

One theory for the apparent link is that an increase of inflammatory protein molecules that accompanies an infection affects the functioning of platelets in the blood, which could increase the risk of thrombosis. Platelets are the sticky cells that facilitate clot formation in the blood.

Gearhart says it may be time to conduct more intense monitoring of colorectal surgery patients who develop surgical-site infections, and consider frequent screening for clots in those with infections. Such screening can be done with ultrasound equipment. She also suggests such patients be kept on blood thinners for 30 days after surgery regardless of when they are discharged.

Other Johns Hopkins researchers involved in this study include Elliott R. Haut, M.D.; Brandyn D. Lau, M.P.H.; Michael Streiff, M.D.; Elizabeth C. Wick, M.D.; and Jonathan E. Efron, M.D.

For more information:

Stephanie Desmon | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia
21.10.2016 | Universitätsklinikum Magdeburg

nachricht New potential cancer treatment using microwaves to target deep tumors
12.10.2016 | University of Texas at Arlington

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>