MEDLINE Journals

    Survey of tourniquet use in podiatric surgery.


    Kalla TP, Younger A, McEwen JA, et al. 


    J Foot Ankle Surg 2003 Mar-Apr; 42(2) :68-76.


    Tourniquet use in foot and ankle surgery is common practice; however, the technique varies among foot and ankle surgeons and there are no standard guidelines. To analyze trends in foot and ankle tourniquet use, the authors conducted an e-mail survey. One thousand six hundred sixty-five foot and ankle surgeons were sent a tourniquet-use survey via e-mail, across Canada and the United States. Nineteen percent of the recipients completed and returned the surveys. Eleven (3.4%) rarely or never use a tourniquet and 8 (2.5%) use an Esmarch bandage tourniquet at the ankle. Most use pneumatic ankle cuffs (92% use, 27% use exclusively); many also use thigh cuffs (69%) and some also use calf cuffs (15%). Most thigh-cuff users (62%) experience problems with cuff fit sometimes or often. All but 3 respondents exsanguinate the limb before tourniquet inflation. Specific devices used for exsanguination varied among surgeons. Most commonly used tourniquet pressures range from </=200 to 350 mm Hg at the ankle and </=200 to >/=351 mm Hg for the thigh (64% use pressures between 301 and 350 mm Hg). Only 7% of respondents consider limb occlusion pressure when selecting tourniquet cuff pressure. Based on published studies of limb occlusion pressures, these ranges suggest that some of the more common pressure settings may be higher than necessary for many patients. Vascular disease or previous bypass (91%) and deep vein thrombosis (83%) were the most commonly listed contraindications to tourniquet use. Approximately 10% of respondents have either experienced or learned of skin and nerve injuries secondary to lower extremity tourniquet use at any level. The varied responses show a lack of overall consensus on tourniquet pressure settings. Guidelines for optimizing cuff pressure and technique should be established to minimize the risk of complications.


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    United States



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