heart attack and knee replacementOlder individuals that go through medical procedures may sometimes encounter issues that younger people may not, including complications related to the heart. In fact, a new study shows that people aged 60 and older that undergo procedures to have a hip or knee replaced may have a higher risk of heart attack than those individuals in the same age range. This side effect may be further exacerbated by those with pre-existing conditions that may adversely affect the heart, including high blood pressure.


The results of this negative surgical side effect come from a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, which reviewed the medical records of close to 100,000 people in Denmark who had knee and hip replacement surgeries between 1998 and 2008. Of those people with surgeries during that period, one in every 200 suffered a heart attack following a hip replacement procedure and one in 500 among those that had suffered a knee replacement. It is not yet known what pre-existing conditions, such as high blood pressure, may have played a role in the cases of each of these individuals.


Heart attacks in older people following these surgeries may also be the result of the fact that surgery puts such a major stress on the body and older bodies may handle said stress less effectively than younger patients can. In fact, even the thought of the surgery is enough to spur older people to have a heart attack because of the anxiety associated with this type of procedure.


Another reason that these two surgeries in particular may cause greater incidences of heart attack in patients could be due  to what study researchers call “hemodynamic balance,” which is where the heart is stressed by the disruption of blood flow throughout the body during the surgery in question. This is also the case due to the disruption of oxygen in the blood during said procedures as well. While surgeons may take great care to cause as little disruption as possible during the procedure, some disruption of blood flow is normal and the stress caused on the body can have a more serious effect in older individuals than it does in those that are younger and in better health.


Controlling high blood pressure and remaining as calm and stress-free as possible prior to such a major procedure can go a long way towards preventing heart attack in patients that have had a knee or hip replaced.  In fact, being in the best possible physical shape is key to strive for ahead of any major procedure and can go a long way towards a much quicker recovery process as well as how you feel prior to and just after surgery.