Paragon Press – August 2013

Aspirin vs. Warfarin

By definition, a thromboembolism is the formation of a clot (thrombus) in a blood vessel that breaks loose and is carried by the blood stream to plug another vessel. Clots are potentially fatal risks of surgery, with the severity of the problem depending on where the thrombus travels. If you have had total joint surgery in the past 40 years, then you probably know what warfarin is. As the drug surgeons have used to prevent postoperative thromboembolism/clots, warfarin is effective, but has many side effects. The most notable side effect is bleeding, since warfarin interferes with your body’s ability to clot. It can be difficult to determine the proper amount for each patient because dosing is individualized. A recent study following 28,923 patients showed that aspirin may be a more effective prevention for clots than warfarin.

The study showed patients who were treated with aspirin had:

  • A lower incidence of pulmonary embolism (clot to the lungs)
  • A significantly lower DVT rate (clots)
  • Fewer wound-related problems
  • Shorter hospitalization time

The patients who received warfarin were more than six times more likely to develop an embolism to the lungs than one on aspirin. It is also important to note that using aspirin would be less expensive because there is less monitoring of your blood clotting. Regular clinic visits to monitor clotting are necessary while a patient is on warfarin, but not for aspirin. This research shows clear advantages to aspirin, but more study is needed for a definitive answer as to which drug is safest and best. Dr. Van Horne and Dr. Bents keep up with the most recent studies and will review what is best for you and your surgery.

Did you know that because of genetics, some people metabolize caffeine slowly, needing 8 hours to rid half of it from the body, while others need just 2 hours?

Quitting caffeine usually brings withdrawal symptoms that can last 2 to 9 days and doctors recommend you taper off gradually over 2 to 4 weeks to kick the habit.

The following articles were referenced for this newsletter:
Wall Street Journal: Tuesday, June 11, 2013, D1