• Vol. 33 No. 2, 235–238
  • 15 March 2004

Deep Vein Thrombosis Following Hip Fracture and Prevalence of Hyperhomocysteinaemia in the Elderly



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Introduction: The prevalence of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in the West is reported to be as high as 50% after hip surgery. A study performed 14 years ago showed the incidence in Singapore to be <10%. Lately, some case-control and cross-sectional studies have suggested hyperhomocysteinaemia as an independent risk factor for DVT. This study investigates the local incidence of DVT and plasma hyperhomocysteinaemia in elderly patients presenting with proximal hip fracture.

Materials and Methods: We recruited 104 consecutive patients from April 2001 to November 2001 who satisfy certain criteria. Firstly, patients of both genders who were >55 years old with radiological diagnosis of neck of femur fracture, intertrochanteric or subtrochanteric fracture. Secondly, these patients must not have any haemorrhagic or thrombogenic disease. Thirdly, patients were not given folate and B complex pre- or postoperation. Duplex ultrasound was then done for these patients on the 5th to 7th postoperative day.

Results: The incidence of DVT above the trifurcation was 7.7 %, no incidence of pulmonary embolism (PE) was detected. The incidence of hyperhomocysteinaemia was 52.3%.

Conclusions: The incidence of DVT in the local population after proximal hip fracture is much lower than in the West. The use of DVT prophylaxis in Asians should be selective to avoid incurring extra cost and its associated morbidity. Case-control studies and cross-sectional studies clearly indicate that hyperhomocysteinaemia is an independent risk factor for venous thrombosis. Given the high incidence of hyperhomocysteinaemia in our elderly with hip fracture, the prophylactic correction of hyperhomocysteinaemia with folate and vitamin B supplements is justified.

Western literature reports a high incidence of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) after hip surgery in the absence of prophylaxis. It is reported to be as high as 50% of which 20% to 30% are in the proximal vein.

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