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Prevalence of Deep Vein Thrombosis in Low-Risk Patients After Elective Foot and Ankle Surgery

Martin Sullivan, Ilian Dominiq Eusebio, Kristin Haigh, Juan Paulo Panti, Abdullah Omari, Jacqueline R Hang
Foot & Ankle International 2019, 40 (3): 330-335

BACKGROUND: The evidence regarding the prevalence of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) after foot and ankle surgery in elective patients that need to be 6 weeks non-weight bearing postoperatively is incomplete and has limitations.

METHODS: The prevalence of DVT in 114 procedures involving the hindfoot and midfoot was determined using ultrasonographic surveillance at 2 and 6 weeks after surgery.

RESULTS: The prevalence of DVT was observed to be 25.4%. The majority (68.9%) of DVTs were diagnosed at the ultrasonographic scan performed 2 weeks postoperatively. The remainder (31.1%) of DVTs were diagnosed at the 6-week postoperative ultrasonographic scan. At least 75% of the patients who had early and late DVT had no clinical symptoms or signs of DVT. The prevalence of DVT in clinically detectable patients was 6%. The average age of patients with early DVT was 62.2 years, significantly higher compared to those who had no DVT. The mean tourniquet time for patients with early DVT was 68.1 minutes, significantly higher compared to those without DVT. All DVTs detected were distal to the popliteal vein.

CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of clinically silent DVT was significantly higher than was previously thought. We believe this increased rate is directly attributable to the use of ultrasonographic surveillance postsurgery both at 2 and 6 weeks. The risk of DVT continued after the 2-week visit, and 30% of the DVTs were detected at the ultrasonographic scan at 6 weeks.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Level II, prospective cohort.


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