Deep-vein thrombosis after fracture of the pelvis: Assessment with serial duplex-ultrasound screening

Richard H White, J. A. Goulet, T. J. Bray, M. M. Daschbach, John P McGahan, R. P. Hartling

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57 Scopus citations


Sixty patients who had had a major fracture of the pelvis and were in stable condition on the orthopaedic ward three to five days after the injury were tested serially with duplex ultrasound, beginning approximately seven days after the injury, in order to determine the incidence of deep-vein thrombosis. Contrast venography was performed to confirm all positive non-invasive studies. Deep-vein thrombosis developed in eight patients (approximately 15 per cent). The thrombosis was in the popliteal or a more proximal vein in six of the eight patients, whereas in two it was distal to the popliteal vein. In four patients, evidence of thrombosis developed after one or more normal duplex-ultrasound studies. In one patient, symptoms that were suggestive of deep-vein thrombosis developed fifty-two days after the injury (four days after the fourth normal duplex-ultrasound examination), and ascending venography was entirely normal. Another patient had a pulmonary embolus fifteen days after the injury, and on the same day a duplex-ultrasound study was positive for thrombosis. During six weeks of follow-up after discharge from the hospital, symptoms of deep-vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism did not develop in any patient in whom serial duplex-ultrasound studies had been negative.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)495-500
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Bone and Joint Surgery - Series A
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Surgery


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