MEDICAL experts in the region have been given a financial boost in their mission to reduce the risk of complications after surgery.

Orthopaedic surgical procedures such as repairs to a hip fracture and hip and knee replacements carry a risk of causing a dangerous condition called venous thromboembolism (VTE).

In VTE, blood clots can form within the vein, which is known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Sometimes they break off and cause serious complications including pulmonary embolism, which is the cause of death in one in ten patients who die in hospital.

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Every year in England an estimated 25,000 deaths occur as a result of hospital-acquired VTE.

However, healthcare experts in the North-East are working to reduce the risk to patients thanks to a grant of £120,000 awarded to a joint study led by Hartlepool-based Hart Biologicals Ltd and clinicians at The James Cook University Hospital, in Middlesbrough.

The grant, awarded by the Academic Health Science Network for North East and North Cumbria (AHSN NENC), will be used to support developmental work on products which help reduce the risk of blood clots following orthopaedic surgery.

Although blood clots can happen to anyone it is estimated that DVT occurs in more than four in ten patients undergoing major orthopaedic surgery.

The purpose of the study, by Prof Amar Rangan, a consultant in orthopaedics, in collaboration with Alby Pattison, managing director at Hart Biologicals Ltd, is to develop a novel testing method by studying the blood from patients undergoing such procedures.

This helps to identify patients who have the greatest risk of developing VTE at different time points whilst they are in hospital, therefore helping doctors and nurses manage the risk of VTE.

Mr Pattison said his firm is also contributing £56,000 towards the research project.