March 02, 2009
1 min read

Analysis finds DVT and PE rates of 0.25% and 0.17%, respectively, after arthroscopy

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LAS VEGAS — The incidence of symptomatic thromboembolism as a postoperative complication following knee arthroscopy was low based on a retrospective review of the Kaiser Permanente administrative database.

According to the results of the study, “The overall combined incidence of venous thromboembolism (VTE) was 0.41%,” Gregory B. Maletis, MD, said at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons 76th Annual Meeting.

Maletis and colleagues reviewed surgeries done within the Kaiser Permanente health system that were coded for basic knee arthroscopy procedures over a 27-month period from 2006 to 2008. While 21,401 cases met the researchers’ inclusion/exclusion criteria, they ultimately looked at the VTE incidence for 20,950 arthroscopy cases within 90 postoperative days after accounting for deaths and other factors. The researchers confirmed deep venous thrombosis (DVT) events by duplex ultrasound, and pulmonary embolism (PE) events were confirmed by CT in those studied.

Researchers found 52 patients developed DVTs (0.25%), the majority of which were proximal; 35 patients (0.17%) developed PEs (average age 44 years). These rates are lower than previously reported ones in this population that ranged from 0% to 9.9%, Maletis said.

Although this investigation had some limitations, Maletis said, including being retrospective, relying on accurate coding and being unable to assess the incidence of non-symptomatic DVT, ?results of this study should be reflective of the general population,” he added.

The study was funded by a Kaiser Permanente grant.

Maletis has no financial conflicts to disclose related to products or companies mentioned in this article.


  • Maletis GB, Reynolds S, Inacio MCS. Incidence of thromboembolism after knee arthroscopy. Paper #340. Presented at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons 76th Annual Meeting. Feb. 25-28, 2009. Las Vegas.