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Clinics (Sao Paulo). 2012 Sep;67(9):1053-7.

The influence of tourniquet use and operative time on the incidence of deep vein thrombosis in total knee arthroplasty.

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  • 1Department of Orthopedics and Traumatology, Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, SP, Brazil.



To evaluate the association between tourniquet and total operative time during total knee arthroplasty and the occurrence of deep vein thrombosis.


Seventy-eight consecutive patients from our institution underwent cemented total knee arthroplasty for degenerative knee disorders. The pneumatic tourniquet time and total operative time were recorded in minutes. Four categories were established for total tourniquet time: <60, 61 to 90, 91 to 120, and >120 minutes. Three categories were defined for operative time: <120, 121 to 150, and >150 minutes. Between 7 and 12 days after surgery, the patients underwent ascending venography to evaluate the presence of distal or proximal deep vein thrombosis. We evaluated the association between the tourniquet time and total operative time and the occurrence of deep vein thrombosis after total knee arthroplasty.


In total, 33 cases (42.3%) were positive for deep vein thrombosis; 13 (16.7%) cases involved the proximal type. We found no statistically significant difference in tourniquet time or operative time between patients with or without deep vein thrombosis. We did observe a higher frequency of proximal deep vein thrombosis in patients who underwent surgery lasting longer than 120 minutes. The mean total operative time was also higher in patients with proximal deep vein thrombosis. The tourniquet time did not significantly differ in these patients.


We concluded that surgery lasting longer than 120 minutes increases the risk of proximal deep vein thrombosis.

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