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Dihydroergotamine and the thromboprophylactic effect of dextran 70 in emergency hip surgery.

Author(s): Rorbaek-Madsen M, Jakobsen BW, Pedersen J, Sorensen B

Affiliation(s): Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Herning Central Hospital, Denmark.

Publication date & source: 1988-04, Br J Surg., 75(4):364-5.

Publication type: Clinical Trial; Randomized Controlled Trial

In a prospective randomized controlled trial treatment with a combination of dextran 70 and dihydroergotamine (DHE) was compared with the administration of dextran 70 alone as prophylaxis against postoperative thrombo-embolic complications in emergency hip surgery. Forty-five consecutive patients with a fractured hip entered the study. Twenty-one were randomized to prophylactic treatment with dextran 70 (group 1) and twenty-four patients received dextran 70 and DHE (group 2). Both regimens were initiated pre-operatively and the surgical and postoperative procedures were the same in the two groups. On the first and fourth postoperative day, Tc-plasmin scintigraphy of the lower extremities and pulmonary ventilation/perfusion scintigraphy were performed to detect any deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and/or pulmonary emboli. A total of 19 per cent of group 1 patients developed DVT and so did 25 per cent in group 2; this difference was not statistically significant. Of the detected DVT, 60 per cent were subclinical, and 7 per cent of the patients had minor pulmonary emboli, all of which were symptomless. No therapeutic difference could be demonstrated between the two regimens. A recent report claiming that adding DHE to the prophylactic administration of dextran 70 considerably reduces the incidence of postoperative DVT in emergency hip surgery is questioned.

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