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The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery British Volume
Vol. 79-B, Issue 4 | Pages 633 - 637
1 Jul 1997
McNally MA Bahadur R Cooke EA Mollan RAB

We studied the effect of total knee replacement on venous flow in 110 patients. Resting venous blood flow was measured using straingauge plethysmography before operation, after surgery and after discharge from hospital. There was a significant reduction in mean venous capacitance (p < 0.001) and mean venous outflow (p < 0.004) affecting only the operated leg. Both improved significantly after mobilisation in the early postoperative period, returning to preoperative levels by six days after surgery and before discharge from hospital.

Our findings showed that venous stasis may contribute to deep-vein thrombosis only in the first few days after total knee replacement. This would be the most important period for the use of flow-enhancing prophylactic devices.

Comparison with changes in blood flow after total hip replacement identified different patterns of altered haemodynamics suggesting that there are different mechanisms of venous stasis and thrombogenesis in hip and knee arthritis and during surgery for these conditions.