A tourniquet may potentiate rare and devastating arterial complications after total knee replacement (TKR) in patients with peripheral vascular disease (PVD). Most prior studies that evaluated peripheral arterial blood flow primarily used the ankle-brachial index (ABI). We assessed the prevalence and risk factors for PVD in a cohort undergoing TKR. Clinical and radiological evaluations, including duplex ultrasonography, were performed one week prior to, and six weeks post-TKR performed under tourniquet control. Forty patients were analysed (20 male, 20 female; mean age 67 yrs, range: 53-80 yrs). Hypertension (50%) and hypercholesterolaemia (50%) were the most common co-morbidities. Distal pulses were present in all patients preoperatively. Six patients (15%) had arterial calcification on their preoperative knee X-rays. Three patients (7.5%) had moderate PVD. There was no change in blood flow postoperatively in patients with or without PVD (p > 0.05). Vascular stenosis was less than 50% in all patients preoperatively and postoperatively. No postoperative vascular complications occurred. Severe PVD is not common in patients undergoing TKR. Performing total knee replacement under tourniquet control does not adversely affect the vasculature in patients with less than 50% vascular occlusion.
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