Safety of Tourniquet Use in Total Knee Arthroplasty in Patients With Radiographic Evidence of Vascular Calcifications

Steven M. Koehler, Adam Fields, Naudereh Noori, Mitchell Weiser, Calin S. Moucha, Michael J. Bronson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Tourniquets are often used in total knee arthroplasty (TKA) to improve visualization of structures, shorten operative time, reduce intraoperative bleeding, and improve cementing technique. Despite these advantages, controversy remains regarding the safety of tourniquet use. Tourniquets have been associated with nerve palsies, vascular injury, and muscle damage. Some have hypothesized they may also cause deep vein thrombosis. Last, increased incidence of postoperative wound complications has been reported with use of tourniquets. We conducted a retrospective cohort study to determine whether tourniquet use in TKA in patients with preexisting radiographic evidence of vascular disease increases the risk for wound complications or venous thromboembolism (VTE). Patients (N = 373) were placed in 2 groups: One had no preoperative radiographic evidence of knee arterial calcification (n = 285), and the other had arterial calcifications (n = 88). Overall, arterial calcification did not increase the risk for wound complication or VTE (P > .05). Furthermore, location of arterial calcification did not affect risk for wound complication or VTE. There were no arterial injuries. Diabetes, hypertension, prior VTE, coronary artery disease, and male sex were linked to higher wound complication rates (P < .05). Patients who have preoperative radiographic evidence of arterial calcification can safely undergo tourniquet-assisted TKA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E308-E316
JournalAmerican journal of orthopedics (Belle Mead, N.J.)
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2015


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