Papers And Originals

Prevention of Early Postoperative Deep Vein Thrombosis by Intermittent Compression of the Leg during Surgery

Br Med J 1971; 4 doi: (Published 13 November 1971) Cite this as: Br Med J 1971;4:394
  1. S. Sabri,
  2. V. C. Roberts,
  3. L. T. Cotton


    A clinical trial is described in which the effect of intermittent compression of the lower limb during surgery on the incidence of early postoperative deep vein thrombosis was assessed. Deep vein thromboses were diagnosed by the 125I-fibrinogen uptake test. Peroperative intermittent compression was achieved by means of an inflatable plastic splint coupled to a pneumatic controller. By compressing only one leg of each patient, each patient acted as his own control.

    With a sequential statistical analysis, 39 patients were required to pass the 5% level of significance. Eleven thrombi were detected in the control (uncompressed) legs and two occurred in the compressed legs; one of the latter was bilateral. The investigation shows that increasing the pulsatility of the venous flow in the leg is a potent prophylactic against postoperative deep vein thrombosis.