Categories: Abstracts, 2022, Podium

Prevalence of symptomatic venous thromboembolism in patients with diabetic feet treated in total contact cast in a tertiary referral diabetic foot unit

A. Kozhikunnath, P. Garg, A. Coll, A.HN Robinson

1Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Trust, Department of Orthopaedics and Foot and Ankle Surgery, Cambridge, United Kingdom 

2Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Trust, Diabetes and Endocrinology, Cambridge, United Kingdom

Introduction: Total contact casting (TCC) is one of the most commonly utilized modalities in the management of diabetic feet. We undertook a retrospective review to determine the prevalence of symptomatic VTE events in patients treated in a weight bearing TCC in our diabetic foot unit, and to formulate guidelines for VTE prophylaxis. 

Methods: Electronic records were reviewed to identify all patients treated in a TCC between 2014 and 2021.  Data collection included patient demographics, comorbidities, period of immobilization in TCC, the incidence of VTE events, and any VTE prophylaxis prescribed during their period in TCC. 

Results: 549 patients were identified who had at least one episode of TCC. Mean age was 67 years (range 28 to 94 years) and the mean duration in cast was 10.2 weeks (range 0.3-46 weeks). Only 6 patients (1.1%) were prescribed chemical thrombo-prophylaxis during their period in TCC. Mean body mass index (BMI) for these patients was 32.3 (Range 18.4-58.9). Other significant comorbidities: 81% (n-444) of patients had associated cardio-vascular comorbidities; 54 % (n-296) had renal comorbidities including 22% (n-121) having had dialysis and 4.2% (n-23) with renal transplants. 
Eight of the 549 patients (1.5%) had suffered a VTE event of which only 2 (0.36%) were during the period of immobilization in TCC. One was a symptomatic DVT (0.18%) and the another was an asymptomatic (incidental) finding of pulmonary embolism (PE). There was no mortality related to the VTE episodes.

Conclusion: NICE guidelines state that one should “Consider pharmacological VTE prophylaxis for patients with lower limb immobilization”. Our study finds that patients treated in a weight bearing TCC do not require routine pharmacological VTE prophylaxis, in spite of an extended period of lower limb immobilization and significant medical comorbidities.


Click thumbnail below to view poster / thumbnail: