International Orthopaedics June 2012, Volume 36, Issue 6, pp 1299–1305

Risk factors and distribution of symptomatic venous thromboembolism in total hip and knee replacements: prospective study

Markovic-Denic, L., Zivkovic, K., Lesic, A. et al.
Hip Knee


Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is a common complication of orthopaedic surgery in the industrialised world; though there may be variability between population groups. This study aims to define the incidence and risk factors for symptomatic VTE following primary elective total hip and knee arthoplasty surgery in a single centre in Eastern Europe.


This prospective study included 499 adult patients undergoing total hip and knee arthroplasty for symptomatic osteoarthritis over a two-year period at the Clinic of Orthopaedic Surgery and Traumatology, Belgrade.


The overall rate of confirmed symptomatic VTE during hospitalisation was 2.6%. According to the univariate logistic regression, an age greater than 75 years (OR = 3.08; 95%CI = 1.01–9.65), a family history of VTE (OR = 6.61; 95% CI = 1.33–32.90), varicose veins (OR = 3.13; 95% CI = 1.03–9.48), and ischemic heart disease (OR = 4.93; 95% CI = 1.61–15.09) were significant risk factors for in-hospital VTE. A family history of VTE and ischemic heart disease were independent risk factors according to multivariate regression analysis. Preoperative initiation of pharmacological thromboprophylaxis (p = 0.03) and a longer duration of thromboprophylaxis (p = 0.001) were protective for postoperative DVT. Though thromboprophylaxis was safe, with very few patients suffering major haemorrhage or heparin-induced thrombocytopenia, there was a general reluctance by our local surgeons to use prolonged thromboprophylaxis.


VTE is common following hip and knee arthroplasty surgery. Orthopaedic patients with a family history of VTE, heart failure and coronary heart disease are at a considerable risk of thromboembolic complications in the postoperative period. There may be a role for preoperative thromboprophylaxis in addition to prolonged postoperative treatment.

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