The Importance of a Standardized Screening Tool to Identify Thromboembolic Risk Factors in Pediatric Lower Extremity Arthroscopy Patients

Henry Bone Ellis, Meagan J. Sabatino, Zachary Clarke, Garrett Dennis, Amanda L. Fletcher, Charles W. Wyatt, Ayesha Zia, Philip L. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


INTRODUCTION: Deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism are major complications that can occur in common orthopaedic procedures such as knee arthroscopy. The purpose of this study is to determine the incidence of venous thromboembolism (VTE) risk factors in adolescent patients undergoing elective lower extremity arthroscopy. A second objective is to determine whether a targeted, standardized screening tool is both cost- and clinically effective in the identification of VTE risk factors in adolescents. METHODS: A standardized VTE screening tool was prospectively administered to all elective arthroscopic procedures in a pediatric sports medicine practice. A comparison cohort that did not complete the screening tool was isolated through a retrospective chart review identifying VTE risk factors. The incidence and cost between the two cohorts were compared. RESULTS: Of 332 subjects who did not receive a targeted screening (TS) tool, 103 risk factors were noted. One pulmonary embolism case was identified with a total incidence of 0.15% over 3 years. With TS, we identified 325 subjects with 134 identifiable risk factors. Six patients (1.8%) were noted to be very high risk, requiring consultation with hematology. No VTEs were reported. When compared with the retrospective review, TS identified 30% more risk factors. A significant increase in the identification of family history of blood clots (P < 0.001), history of previous blood clot (P = 0.059), recurrent miscarriages in the family (P = 0.010), and smoking exposure (P = 0.062) was found. Additionally, the total cost of screening was less than the cost of prophylaxis treatment with no screening ($20.98 versus $23.51 per person, respectively). DISCUSSION: Risk factors for VTE may be present in 32.5% of elective adolescent arthroscopic patients. A TS model for VTE identified 30% more risk factors, especially a significant family history, and was shown to be a cost-effective way to safely implement a VTE prevention program.Level II.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)335-343
Number of pages9
JournalThe Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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