A randomized trial was performed in consecutive patients undergoing total hip replacement to evaluate the effectiveness of sequential intermittent calf and thigh compression for preventing venous thrombosis compared with a control group given no prophylaxis. Both groups underwent case finding for deep vein thrombosis using combined fibrinogen I 125 leg scanning, impedance plethysmography, and venography. Deep vein thrombosis by venography was present in 77 (49%) of 158 control patients compared with 36 (24%) of 152 patients given intermittent compression. Proximal vein thrombosis was present in 42 controls (27%) compared with 22 patients (14%) given intermittent compression. Combined impedance plethysmography and leg scanning was insensitive in this patient group (sensitivity, 46%); venography was required to detect more than half the patients with venous thrombosis. Sequential intermittent leg compression clinically and statistically significantly reduced the frequency of both proximal vein and calf vein thrombosis. Case finding resulted in early detection and treatment of patients with venous thrombosis.
Hull RD, Raskob GE, Gent M, et al. Effectiveness of Intermittent Pneumatic Leg Compression for Preventing Deep Vein Thrombosis After Total Hip Replacement. JAMA. 1990;263(17):2313–2317. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03440170035032
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