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Blood Clot Filters: Good or Bad?

| Date Posted: 6/27/2013 | Author: Mandy McCue

With every surgery there comes an inherent risk that must be considered against the possible benefit. Weight-loss surgery is no different. It varies by the type of bariatric surgery but some of the most common risks or side effects are vitamin deficiency, dehydration, and dumping syndrome. Though not as common, developing a blood clot is also part of the risk. According to Daniel J. Brotman, M.D. the risk of fatal blood clots in bariatric surgery patients is less than 1 percent. Dr. Brotman is an associate professor of medicine at the John Hopkins University School of Medicine and director of the hospitalist program at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. He was also the study leader for the recent study released by John Hopkins Medicine on whether temporary blood clot filters do more harm than good for bariatric surgery patients. doctor

After weight-loss surgery it is common for there to be a temporary umbrella-like metal mesh filter placed in the abdominal veins to stop potentially lethal blood clots from reaching the heart or lungs.  The study’s findings, reported in the JAMA Surgery, suggest that other measures such as blood thinners or the use of a leg compression devices are better at preventing venous thromboembolism (VTE), or a pulmonary embolism (PE).

The filters are placed in the inferior vena cava, the large vein that carries blood from the lower parts of the body to the heart, and are supposed to act as a physical barrier to keep clots that form in leg veins from breaking off and reaching the heart. They have become more common in surgery since they are no longer permanent and can be removed as soon as the risk of a blood clot has passed.

Researchers reviewed previously published medical literature on the comparative effectiveness and safety of pharmacological and mechanical strategies to prevent VTE in bariatric patients. When comparing the outcomes, they found that filters did not reduce risk of deadly lung clots, and saw some evidence that they are associated with higher overall mortality in patients.

Like aforesaid, the risk of fatal blood clots in bariatric surgery patients is less than 1 perfect. One of the reasons may be that the operation is becoming less invasive, allowing patients to get up and walk around sooner after surgery, which is a way to prevent blood clots from forming.

It’s important to do your research on life before, during and after surgery to learn how to prevent risks such as blood clots. FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital’s Bariatric Center offers free weight-loss surgery information sessions on the first Thursday and third Monday of every month where you have to opportunity to learn about bariatric surgery, meet the physician and ask questions. For more information, call (800) 213-3284.

FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital offers treatment to patients in the Pinehurst, Raeford, Sanford, Lumberton, Laurinburg, Troy, and Rockingham regions of North Carolina and beyond.

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