Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research®

, Volume 472, Issue 9, pp 2615–2620 | Cite as

What Is the Frequency of Vascular Injury After Knee Dislocation?

  • Kyle M. Natsuhara
  • Michael G. Yeranosian
  • Jeremiah R. Cohen
  • Jeffrey C. Wang
  • David R. McAllister
  • Frank A. Petrigliano
Symposium: Management of the Dislocated Knee



Vascular injury secondary to an acute knee dislocation is a known complication. However, there exist wide discrepancies in the reported rate of vascular injury in this setting.


Using a large private insurance database, we determined the frequency of vascular injury in knee dislocations across year of diagnosis, age, sex, and US geographic region and the proportion of these injuries requiring surgical repair.


The PearlDiver database, which contains records from 11 million orthopaedic patients, was searched using ICD-9 diagnostic codes for all knee dislocation events from 2004 to 2009. Within this subset, we identified which knee dislocations had an associated vascular injury ICD-9 code. Patients were stratified by year of diagnosis, age, sex, and US geographic region, and Current Procedural Terminology codes were used to identify the subset of patients with vascular injury requiring surgical repair. Differences in frequency across demographic groups and over time were analyzed with Poisson regression analysis.


Among the 8050 limbs with knee dislocation identified over the study period, 267 had a concomitant vascular injury for an overall frequency of 3.3%. Males were found to have an increased risk of vascular injury compared to females (odds ratio = 2.59, p < 0.001). Additionally, patients aged 20 to 39 years had a higher risk of vascular injury when compared to those aged 0 to 19 years (odds ratio = 1.93, p = 0.001), 40 to 59 years (odds ratio = 1.57, p = 0.014), and 60 years or older (odds ratio = 2.81, p = 0.036). There were no differences in vascular injury frequency across US geographic regions or diagnosis year. Thirty-four of the 267 cases of vascular injury (13%) underwent surgical treatment.


This is the largest study, to our knowledge, that analyzes the proportion of knee dislocations that result in vascular injury. Our data suggest that there is a lower frequency of vascular injury associated with knee dislocation and a lower proportion of vascular injuries undergoing surgical treatment than previously reported. These findings may support a more selective angiography protocol to screen for vascular injury, rather than performing this invasive diagnostic test on all knee dislocations, as has been done historically. Future large-scale and prospective studies should analyze factors that may predispose to vascular injuries after knee dislocation and determine which patients should be screened for vascular injury after knee dislocation.

Level of Evidence

Level IV, prognostic study. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.


Vascular Injury Popliteal Artery Current Procedural Terminology Vascular Repair Knee Dislocation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors thank the UCLA Statistical Consulting Group from the Institute for Digital Research and Education for their consulting services in the statistical analyses used in this study.

Supplementary material

11999_2014_3566_MOESM1_ESM.docx (12 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 12 kb)


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Copyright information

© The Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons® 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kyle M. Natsuhara
    • 1
  • Michael G. Yeranosian
    • 2
  • Jeremiah R. Cohen
    • 1
  • Jeffrey C. Wang
    • 3
  • David R. McAllister
    • 1
  • Frank A. Petrigliano
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Orthopaedic SurgeryUniversity of California–Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Department of Orthopaedic SurgeryRutgers University-New Jersey Medical SchoolNewarkUSA
  3. 3.Department of Orthopaedic SurgeryUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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