Molly S. Judge DPM, FACFAS
The development of deep venous thrombosis (DVT) in the postoperative setting is a significant concern for foot and ankle surgeons. Such an untoward event is one of the greatest concerns of a surgeon, adding significant morbidity, mortality, and cost to patient care.
DVT affects approximately two million people in the United States each year with 600,000 developing a pulmonary embolism (PE) as a consequence. Subsequent deaths from PE range from 50,000-100,000."* There is a wealth of information in the medical literature regarding the incidence of DVT and PE following major orthopedic surgeries of the lower extremities (particularly roral joint replacement and trauma) as well as general surgery.
However, statistics regarding occurrence after foot and ankle surgery have been sparse, and recommendations regarding prophylaxis are not clearly identified.* The reported incidence of DVT following foot and ankle surgery has ranged from 0.22% to 3.5% with non-fatal PE being 0.15%.* Differences in study design and criteria may add to the disagreement in prevalence.