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Orthopedic Research at Sentara Helps Joint Replacement Patients 

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Findings presented at 33rd Annual National Association of Orthopaedic Nurses Conference

NORFOLK, Virginia  (May 30, 2013) Hypotension or low blood pressure slows the recovery of orthopedic patients following surgery. Doctors at Sentara Leigh Hospital based in Norfolk, Virginia developed a new protocol for nurses to begin IV fluids at the earliest recognition of low blood pressure in knee and hip joint replacement patients.  Study findings were shared with orthopedic nurses from around the U.S. at the 33rd Annual National Association of Orthopaedic Nurses Conference in San Antonio, TX.

Summary
Hypotension or low blood pressure is one of the enemies of joint replacement patients following surgery. Low blood pressure can delay recovery and cause patients to miss therapy or be transferred for closer monitoring after surgery.

In a patient safety study conducted at Sentara Leigh Hospital in Norfolk, Virginia, nurses were empowered to start evidence-based protocols of giving IV fluids at the earliest sign that blood pressures were trending downward, even if those readings were within a normal range.

Before the study, launch of IV fluids at Sentara required a 10-step process including a physician being contacted to give an order. This new protocol sped care and reduced the number of patients whose conditions worsened due to low blood pressure.

Findings
During the year-long study at Sentara Leigh Hospital, the number of knee and hip replacement patients whose condition worsened after surgery due to low blood pressure reduced by more than 30 percent. The finding shows promise for reducing the number of patients whose recovery is delayed by low blood pressure. Sentara Leigh Hospital is among five hospitals within the health care system with a designated, highly specialized program for the care of knee and hip replacement patients. Sentara OrthoJoint Centers bring together a team of experienced surgeons with caring and specially trained nurses, therapists and other members to offer a unique joint replacement experience.

Related Links:
Sentara Leigh Hospital
Sentara OrthoJoint Centers

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