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Am J Orthop (Belle Mead NJ). 1998 Jan;27(1):53-8.

A randomized comparison of sequential-gradient calf compression with intermittent plantar compression for prevention of venous thrombosis in orthopedic trauma patients: preliminary results.

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Orthopaedic Trauma Service, University of Missouri Hospitals and Clinics, Columbia, USA.


Trauma patients with fractures of the pelvis, acetabulum, or femur are at risk for deep venous thrombosis complicating the treatment of their injuries. This risk can be lessened with anticoagulant medications or with mechanical methods such as sequential pneumatic compression. However, many patients in this population group have contraindications to systemic anticoagulation and cannot use sequential limb compression devices because of leg injuries or appliances. Intermittent pneumatic compression of the plantar venous plexus is able to provide prophylaxis against deep venous thrombosis in many of these patients. We performed a prospective, randomized, controlled comparison between plantar compression and leg compression for prevention of deep venous thrombosis in an orthopedic trauma population of 124 patients. Patients were evaluated with duplex ultrasonagraphy at intervals after surgery. Both methods proved protective in comparison with reported rates in patients not given prophylaxis, and although the numbers were too small to give statistically meaningful results, we observed no significant difference in the thrombosis rate (4% for plantar compression versus 0% for leg compression). We conclude that foot pumps are an effective alternative to calf compression for prevention of deep venous thrombosis after a lower extremity fracture.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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