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Incidence of Preoperative Deep Vein Thrombosis in Calcaneal Fractures.

  • Author(s): Williams, Joan R
  • Little, Milton TM
  • Kramer, Patricia A
  • Benirschke, Stephen K
  • et al.


This study examined the incidence and risk factors of preoperative deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in patients presenting to an outpatient setting with an isolated calcaneal fracture.


Retrospective chart review.


All patients included in the study presented to the treating surgeon at a Level I trauma center with isolated calcaneal fractures as an outpatient between 2005 and 2013.


These patients were either referred from outside hospitals, had been evaluated in the emergency department initially and presented for definitive care, or presented initially to the outpatient clinic. Patients included were over the age of 18, had a preoperative duplex ultrasonography of bilateral lower extremities per the treating surgeon's protocol, and had at minimum 6 weeks follow-up. Patients were excluded if they were a polytrauma, had a documented hypercoagulable state, or were on baseline pharmacologic anticoagulation for another condition. All patients had a preoperative duplex ultrasound of both lower extremities to evaluate for DVT at least 7 days after injury.

Main outcome measure

Patients found to have a preoperative DVT were compared with those who did not have preoperative DVT for possible risk factors.


One hundred fifty-nine patients qualified for our study and of these, 19 (12%) were found to have a DVT preoperatively, almost all of which were in distal veins. All risk factors, including age, sex, and body mass index were analyzed as continuous variables. Older age was found to be a risk factor for DVT (P = 0.009, Odds Ratio = 1.06, 95% CI, 1.01-1.11). All other predictor variables, including body mass index (P = 0.05) and sex (P = 0.08), were not statistically significant predictors in our sample.


The incidence of preoperative DVT found here is almost 2 times as high as any previously published examination of lower extremity injuries. Physicians should be aware of this increase so they may counsel patients about the risks of DVTs and the likelihood of any sequelae from developing a DVT that may affect a patient's recovery.

Level of evidence

Prognostic Level III. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

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