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J Orthop Trauma. 1995 Feb;9(1):1-7.

Effectiveness of pneumatic leg compression devices for the prevention of thromboembolic disease in orthopaedic trauma patients: a prospective, randomized study of compression alone versus no prophylaxis.

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Department of Orthopaedics, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.


A prospective, randomized clinical trial in 304 orthopaedic trauma patients with hip and pelvic fractures was conducted to investigated the effectiveness of pneumatic sequential leg compression devices (PSLCDs) for the prevention of thromboembolic disease. The control group received no specific form of prophylaxis. Patients were followed by venous Doppler, duplex can, and ventilation perfusion lung scans. The study end-point was documented pulmonary embolism and/or deep vein thrombosis. The incidence of a venous thromboembolic event in the control group was 11% and in the experimental group 4%. This difference was statistically significant (p = 0.02). These patients were also stratified into hip and pelvic fracture groups. In the hip fracture patients, the control group had a thromboembolic event incidence of 12% and the experimental group 4%. This difference was also statistically significant (p = 0.03). In the pelvic fracture group there was a thromboembolic incidence of 11% in the controls, demonstrating this patient population to be at significant risk. In this group, the PSLCDs were not statistically shown to be effective. Pneumatic leg compression devices are effective in reducing the incidence of thromboembolic events in patients with hip fractures.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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