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General Orthopaedics

Tourniquet use and its complications in Norway

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Over a two-year period, 265 Norwegian orthopaedic surgeons working at 71 institutions performed 63 484 operations under a tourniquet. Their replies to a questionnaire revealed that they mostly followed modern guidelines in their use of the tourniquet. Most felt that the tourniquet could be left on for two hours, and that it could be re-applied after 15 minutes. A total of 26 complications (one in 2442 operations) that might have been due to the tourniquet were reported, of which 15 were neurological. Three were in the upper limb (one in 6155 operations) and 12 in the lower limb (one in 3752 operations). Two were permanent (one in 31742 operations), but the remainder resolved within six months. One permanent and one transient complication occurred after tourniquet times of three hours. The incidence of tourniquet complications is still at least as high as that estimated in the 1970s.

Correspondence should be sent to Dr A. Odinsson; e-mail: adalsteinn.odinsson@ntnu.no

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