The Incidence of Clinical Postoperative Thrombosis After Gastric Surgery for Obesity During 16 Years
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Background: Suggested risk factors for postoperative thrombosis such as high fatty acid levels, hypercholesterolemia and diabetes are common in obese patients. Methods: In a retrospective study, the case records of 328 patients operated for obesity by gastric procedure from September 1977 until December 1993 were analyzed: 253 women and 75 men with a mean age of 38 years and a mean body mass index (BMI) of 44 kg/m2. The operation time, use of epidural anesthesia, and the occurrence of risk factors; fatty acid levels, hypercholesterolemia and diabetes were recorded. Symptomatic thromboses were verified by phlebography or phylethysmography and pulmonary embolism with ventilation/perfusion scintigraphy or autopsy. Results: The mean operating time was 128 minutes, 77% had epidural anesthesia and the mean hospital stay was 12.3 days. The long hospital stay was due to the fact that most patients took part in different scientific studies perioperatively. The incidence of thromboembolism was 2.4%. Four patients ad pulmonary embolism, in one of them this was fatal. Three patients had deep leg vein thrombosis and one patient had arm thrombosis secondary to a central venous catheter. None of these patients had high fatty acids, catheter. None of these patients had high fatty acids, diabetes or high cholesterol. Of the patients, 298 were given dextran-70 (Macrodex®, Pharmacia) as prophylaxis, seven were given heparin and 23 were given no prophylaxis. In the patient group without diagnosed thrombosis, 31% had high fatty acid levels, 2% had high cholesterol levels and 9% had diabetes. Conclusions: Obese patients seem to have a moderate risk of developing postoperative thrombosis when an effective prophylaxis is used. High free fatty acids, hypercholesterolemia and diabetes are not obvious extra risk factors in obese patients. Thromboprophylaxis should be given to all operated obesity patients regardless of age. The surgeons must be aware and investigate promptly any symptoms suggestive of thromboembolism.
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