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Incidence of Symptomatic Pulmonary Embolus and Deep Vein Thrombosis After Knee Arthroscopy in the Pediatric and Adolescent Population

Lau, Brian C. MD*; Jagodzinski, Jason MD*,†; Pandya, Nirav K. MD*,†

Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine: July 2019 - Volume 29 - Issue 4 - p 276–280
doi: 10.1097/JSM.0000000000000519
Original Research

Objective: The incidence of deep venous thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE) after pediatric knee arthroscopy is unknown. The purpose of this study was to determine the incidence of venous thromboembolism (VTE) after knee arthroscopy in the pediatric and adolescent population in a high-volume center.

Design: Retrospective cohort study.

Setting: Tertiary care children's hospital.

Patients: All patients who underwent arthroscopy of the knee for a sports-related injury by 2 surgeons were reviewed. Chief complaint, past medical/surgical history, medications, procedure performed, intraoperative findings, intraoperative complications, and postoperative recovery were reviewed. The incidences of postoperative VTE within 30 days after the procedure were reviewed.

Results: Seven hundred forty-six (358 male and 388 female patients) knee arthroscopies performed from September 2011 to October 2016 by 2 pediatric orthopedic surgeons specializing in sports-related injuries were included. The average age was 15.2 ± 2.72 years. Five patients were suspected to have either DVT or PE postoperatively (0.67%). The overall incidence of symptomatic confirmed VTE after knee arthroscopic procedures was 0.27% (one DVT after a partial lateral meniscectomy and one PE after fixation of an osteochondral lesion).

Conclusions: The incidence of VTE after pediatric sports medicine knee arthroscopies is low, 0.27%. Patients who present with calf swelling or pain, chest pain, or shortness of breath after arthroscopic surgery should be examined closely.

Level of Evidence: Level III.

*Division of Shoulder and Sports Medicine Surgery, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of California San Francisco Medical Center, San Francisco, California; and

Department of Pediatric Orthopaedics, University of California San Francisco Medical Center, Children's Hospital of Oakland, Oakland, California.

Corresponding Author: Brian C. Lau, MD, 500 Parnassus Ave, MU 320-W, San Francisco, CA 94143 (

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Institutional Review Board approval number: 160531B; Met IRB Qualification for Exemption Pursuant to 45 CFR 46.101(4).

Received February 21, 2017

Accepted July 29, 2017

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