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Clin Orthop Relat Res. 1998 Oct;(355):23-34.

The John Charnley Award. Prophylaxis of fat and bone marrow embolism in cemented total hip arthroplasty.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany.


The efficiency of a new cementing technique developed to prevent the risk of intraoperative pulmonary embolism was assessed. Seventy patients with coxarthrosis entered into a prospective, randomized clinical trial. In the control group of 35 cases the total hip replacement was cemented conventionally. In the second group a proximal drainage placed along the Linea aspera, and a distal drainage placed in the diaphysis, created a vacuum in the medullary cavity of the femur during the insertion of the stem. The operation was performed with the patient under blood gas analysis and hemodynamic and transesophageal echocardiography monitoring. Severe transatrial embolic events were observed during the insertion of the femoral component in 94% of the cases of the control group and in 14% of the cases of the vacuum group; the difference is statistically significant. A significant decrease of arterial partial pressure of O2 (-40.8 mm Hg) and increase of the pulmonary shunt values (+28.3%) occurred 5 minutes after the observation of embolic events in the cases operated on conventionally, but these parameters showed minimal changes in the vacuum group. The rise of intramedullary pressure in the femur is the most decisive pathogenic factor of pulmonary embolism during total hip arthroplasty. The logical prophylactic measure to prevent intravasation of fat and bone marrow is to create sufficient drainage. The cohorted investigation showed the value of the vacuum cementing technique for a substantial reduction of intraoperative embolism and pulmonary impairment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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