Incidence and Risk Factor Analysis of Symptomatic Venous Thromboembolism After Knee Arthroscopy

Aaron Krych, Paul L. Sousa, Joseph A. Morgan, Bruce A Levy, Michael J. Stuart, Diane L. Dahm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: To (1) determine the incidence of symptomatic venous thromboembolic events (VTEs) after knee arthroscopy and arthroscopy-assisted procedures at a single institution and (2) determine associated risk factors for VTEs in these patients.

METHODS: The records of patients who underwent knee arthroscopy at a single institution between 1988 and 2008 were reviewed. Chemoprophylaxis was not routinely used. Confirmed VTEs occurring within 4 weeks after the index arthroscopy procedure were included. A 2:1 matched control group was generated to include patients in whom knee arthroscopy was performed by the same surgeon either on the same day or immediately before each case resulting in a VTE. Preoperative and perioperative data were collected with respect to demographic data, medical history, medications, and surgical and anesthesia data. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed.

RESULTS: During the study period, 12,595 patients underwent knee arthroscopy. Among these patients, 43 cases of VTEs (35 deep venous thromboses [DVTs], 5 pulmonary embolisms [PEs], and 3 DVTs that progressed to PEs) occurred, resulting in an incidence of 0.30% (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.22% to 0.41%) for DVT, 0.06% (95% CI, 0.03% to 0.12%) for PE, and 0.34% (95% CI, 0.25% to 0.46%) for VTEs overall. Factors associated with an elevated risk of symptomatic postoperative VTEs included a history of malignancy (P = .01; odds ratio [OR], 6.3), a history of VTEs (P = .02; OR, 5.2), or the presence of more than 2 classic risk factors for VTEs (P = .01; OR, 13.6).

CONCLUSIONS: In this study, symptomatic VTEs were rare and occurred infrequently, with an incidence of 0.34% (95% CI, 0.25% to 0.46%), after knee arthroscopy and arthroscopy-assisted cases in the absence of routine chemoprophylaxis. Patients with a history of VTEs, a history of malignancy, or 2 or more classic risk factors are at increased risk of VTEs after knee arthroscopy, and chemoprophylaxis should be considered in these select patients.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Level III, case-control study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2112-2118
Number of pages7
JournalArthroscopy - Journal of Arthroscopic and Related Surgery
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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