A Comparison of Discharge and Two-Week Duplex Ultrasound Screening Protocols for Deep Venous Thrombosis Detection Following Primary Total Joint Arthroplasty

Dhupar, Scott; Iorio, Richard; Healy, William L.; Dhimitri, Kenneth
November 2006
Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery, American Volume;Nov2006, Vol. 88-A Issue 11, p2380
Academic Journal
Background: Thromboembolic disease in the form of deep venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism is a risk following hip and knee joint replacement. Prophylactic and screening protocols have been employed to prevent thromboembolic disease following lower extremity joint reconstruction. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate two noninvasive venous screening protocols, specifically, compression ultrasonography performed either at the time of hospital discharge or two weeks after the operation. Methods: From 1994 through 2001, 2364 patients undergoing primary unilateral total hip or total knee arthroplasty were managed with an anticoagulation chemoprophylaxis protocol (adjusted-dose warfarin) until the time of noninvasive venous screening with use of one of two protocols. Nine hundred thirty-one patients (406 hips and 525 knees) underwent compression ultrasonography prior to hospital discharge, and the other 1433 patients (614 hips and 819 knees) underwent ultrasonographic screening two weeks after the operation. Results: Twenty-three proximal deep venous thromboses (prevalence, 2.5%) were identified in the group that underwent ultrasound screening at the time of hospital discharge, and thirty-one proximal thromboses (prevalence, 2.2%) were identified in the group that underwent ultrasound screening two weeks after the operation. There was no significant difference between the two protocols with regard to the detection of deep venous thrombosis. Conclusions: There was no significant difference between the group that received two weeks of warfarin chemoprophylactic prophylaxis and the group that was screened at the time of hospital discharge with regard to the detection of deep venous thrombosis with use of compression ultrasound. On the basis of these findings, we no longer screen asymptomatic patients for deep venous thrombosis following hip and knee replacement, and all patients receive warfarin anticoagulation for two weeks.


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