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J Bone Joint Surg Br. 1994 Jul;76(4):579-83.

Prophylaxis against deep-vein thrombosis in total hip replacement. Comparison of heparin and foot impulse pump.

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Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, San Pietro Fatebenefratelli Hospital, Rome, Italy.


We performed a randomised controlled study to compare heparin with the A-V Impulse System in the prevention of deep-vein thrombosis (DVT) in 132 consecutive patients undergoing total hip replacement. After the operation, all patients had compression stockings, 65 were treated with calcium heparin and 67 with the intermittent plantar pump. DVT was diagnosed by Doppler ultrasound and thermography, followed by phlebography. There were 23 cases of DVT (35.4%) in the heparin group, with 16 major and seven minor thromboses. In the impulse pump group there were nine cases (13.4%) with three major and six minor thromboses. The differences for all thromboses and for major thromboses were both significant at p < 0.005. In the heparin group there was one fatal pulmonary embolism and nine patients (13.8%) had excessive bleeding or wound haematomas, as against none in the impulse pump group.

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