A Caregiver's Guide: Recognizing & Preventing Potential Complications
A few risks pose potential serious complications after surgery. These include infections, blood clots, pulmonary embolus and hip dislocation. Each of these conditions presents common symptoms to watch for:
Signs of Infection:
- Increased swelling and redness at incision site.
- Change in color, amount, odor of drainage.
- Increased pain in hip.
- Fever greater than 100.5º F.
Signs of Blood Clots:
- Swelling in thigh, calf or ankle that does not go down with elevation.
- Pain, heat and tenderness in the calf, back of the knee or groin area.
- NOTE: blood clots can form in either leg.
Prevention of Blood Clots:
- Foot and ankle pump
- Compression stockings
- Blood thinners such as Coumadin® or Heparin
Pulmonary Embolus: Of Special note: Pulmonary embolus can be life-threatening. Call 911 if you suspect the patient may be suffering from pulmonary embolus.
Signs of a Pulmonary Embolus:
- Sudden chest pain
- Difficult and/or rapid breathing
- Shortness of breath
Signs of Dislocation:
- Severe pain
- Rotation/shortening of leg
- Unable to walk/move leg
Prevention of Dislocation:
AT ALL TIMES:
- DO NOT cross legs
- DO NOT twist side-to-side
- DO NOT bend at the hip past 90 degrees
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