BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2018 19:274

Incidence of deep vein thrombosis before and after total knee arthroplasty without pharmacologic prophylaxis: a 128-row multidetector CT indirect venography study

Moon Jong Chang, Min Kyu Song, Min Gyu Kyung, Jae Hoon Shin, Chong Bum Chang and Seung-Baik Kang


We sought to document the incidences of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) before and after total knee arthroplasty (TKA). In addition, we aimed to explor whether routine preoperative DVT evaluation was useful to establish DVT treatment strategies after TKA. Finally, we wanted to evaluate whether the incidences of DVT differed between patients undergoing unilateral and staged bilateral TKA within the same hospitalization period.


The retrospective study included 153 consecutive patients (253 knees) with osteoarthritis who underwent primary TKA. After surgery, mechanical compression devices (only) were used for DVT prophylaxis. DVT status before and after TKA was determined via 128-row, multidetector, computed tomography/indirect venography.


Overall, the preoperative DVT incidence was 2.6% per patient and 1.6% per knee. All preoperative DVTs were distal in nature and asymptomatic. After TKA, newly developed thrombi were evident in various calf veins, without propagation of any pre-existing thrombi. Postoperatively, the overall incidences of DVT were 69.9% per patient and 58.5% per knee. The DVT incidences were 66% per patient and 69.8% per knee in the unilateral TKA group. In contrast, the incidences were 72% per patient and 55.5% per knee in the staged bilateral TKA group. There was one case of symptomatic distal (unilateral TKA; 0.65% per patient and 0.4% per knee) and proximal DVT (bilateral TKA; 0.65% per patient and 0.4% per knee), respectively.


The incidence of symptomatic DVT was low in Asian patients treated with mechanical compression devices alone, although substantial portion of patients had DVT after surgery. Routine preoperative DVT evaluation is probably not necessary; preoperative DVT was rare and of limited clinical relevance. Furthermore, staged bilateral TKA during a single period of hospitalization does not increase the incidence of DVT.

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