Routine chemoprophylaxis for deep venous thrombosis in Indian patients: Is it really justified?

Mavalankar, Ashutosh P.; Majmundar, Darshan; Rani, Shubha
July 2007
Indian Journal of Orthopaedics;Jul-Sep2007, Vol. 41 Issue 3, p188
Academic Journal
Background: Venous thromboembolism (VTE), which consists of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism, is a potentially fatal disease. According to the Western literature, DVT of lower limb veins is one of the most common complications following total hip and knee arthroplasty and surgeries for lower limb fractures. Very few studies have been published from India on the subject and very little is known about the true incidence of the condition. The issue has acquired greater significance in Indian subjects in recent times as there is a manifold increase in the number of joint replacement surgeries and surgeries for lower limb fractures. There are no clear guidelines regarding the prophylaxis for VTE for Indian patients. Materials and Methods: We carried out a prospective study to determine the incidence of DVT. Present study included 125 patients undergoing total knee and hip joint arthroplasty and surgeries for fractures of the lower limb over a three-year period. All the patients underwent duplex ultrasonography between the seventh and 14th postoperative day. No mechanical or chemical form of DVT prophylaxis was used. Results: Only nine patients (7.2%) showed sonographic evidence of DVT and the majority of them resolved without treatment. There was no case of pulmonary embolism. Conclusion: DVT following total joint arthroplasty and surgery for lower limb fractures in Indian patients is not as common as reported in the Western literature. A high level of suspicion and close clinical monitoring is mandatory, routine chemoprophylaxis is perhaps not justified in every patient undergoing lower limb surgery in our opinion. More trials involving a larger number of patients and at multi centers, in future, would be required to confirm the findings of our study.


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