Clinical experts at The James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough have been granted £120,000 to carry out research work into reducing the risk of blood clots following orthopaedic surgery for hip fracture repair or total hip or knee replacements.
Prof Amar Rangan, a consultant in orthopaedics at the hospital, has been awarded the funding from Academic Health Science Network – North East and North Cumbria, to carry out a new research study.
Orthopaedic surgical procedures such as repairs to a hip fracture, hip and knee replacements carry a relatively high risk of causing a dangerous condition called venous thromboembolism (VTE). In VTE, blood clots may form within the vein (called deep vein thrombosis (DVT)) and sometimes they break off and reach heart and eventually reach the lungs causing a serious complication called pulmonary embolism (PE).
Hospitals routinely assess patients for risk of developing VTE and give medication to prevent this from happening. Despite this, a small proportion of patients undergoing orthopaedic surgery still develop life threatening VTE.
The purpose of the study is to develop a novel testing protocol by studying the blood from patients undergoing such procedures, using a relatively new technique of rotating thrombo-elastometry (ROTEM). This technology helps to identify those who have the greatest risk of developing VTE at different time points whilst they are in hospital. ROTEM helps to develop a clinical pathway to assist the surgery and to mitigate the risk of VTE.
This trial will invite up to 400 patients in total – 200 patients with hip fracture needing surgical repair and 200 patients undergoing total hip replacements or total knee replacements at The James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough.
Prof Rangan said: “The study aims to assess if ROTEM can be used as a predictor of increased tendency of a person’s blood to clot and therefore VTE, in patients who would not be classed as ‘at risk’ using conventional assessment. The ability to grade the risk and monitor effectiveness of intervention would increase health outcomes for patients at risk of VTE and also decrease long-term morbidity while also offering significant savings to the NHS through better patient management.”
Hart Biologicals Limited of Hartlepool, our industry partner in this grant application, is providing further matched funding worth £56,032.40 for ROTEM instrumentation and scientific support.