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General Orthopaedics

The effect of the position of the limb on venous impulse foot pumps

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Compression foot pumps are widely used for the prevention of postoperative venous thrombosis. We tested the efficiency of the pump in ten healthy subjects; the velocity of venous blood flow in the common femoral vein was measured in the horizontal, Trendelenberg (foot-up) and reverse-Trendelenberg (foot-down) positions.

Application of the foot pump produced an increase in the venous velocity in all subjects. The mean increase in the horizontal position was 27.2% and in the Trendelenberg position 15.4%. In the reverse-Trendelenberg position, the foot pump produced a mean increase of 102.8%.

The efficiency of the compression foot pump in increasing venous return is improved by adopting the reverse-Trendelenberg position. This may increase its thromboprophylactic effect.

Correspondence should be sent to Mr P. Fleming at 9 Leo Avenue, Phibsboro’, Dublin 7, Irish Republic.

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