Scientific Article   |    
Pulmonary Embolism Following Shoulder Arthroplasty
John W. Sperling, MD; Robert H. Cofield, MD
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Investigation performed at the Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota

John W. Sperling, MD
Robert H. Cofield, MD
Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Mayo Clinic, 200 First Street S.W., Rochester, MN 55902. E-mail address for J.W. Sperling: sperling.john@mayo.edu

The authors did not receive grants or outside funding in support of their research or preparation of this manuscript. They did not receive payments or other benefits or a commitment or agreement to provide such benefits from a commercial entity. No commercial entity paid or directed, or agreed to pay or direct, any benefits to any research fund, foundation, educational institution, or other charitable or nonprofit organization with which the authors are affiliated or associated.

A commentary is available with the electronic versions of this article, on our web site (www.jbjs.org) and on our quarterly CD-ROM (call our subscription department, at 781-449-9780, to order the CD-ROM).

J Bone Joint Surg Am, 2002 Nov 01;84(11):1939-1941
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Background: While there have been numerous reports concerning the risk of pulmonary embolism after knee and hip arthroplasty, no such information is available for shoulder arthroplasty, as far as we know. The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence of pulmonary embolism following shoulder arthroplasty.

Methods: A review of 2885 consecutive patients who underwent primary shoulder arthroplasty at our institution between June 30, 1981, and June 30, 2001, was performed to identify all patients who sustained a pulmonary embolism.

Results: During this time-period, five patients sustained a pulmonary embolism following shoulder arthroplasty. Three of the five presented with symptoms that were originally attributed to causes other than pulmonary embolism. None of the patients sustained a fatal pulmonary embolism.

Conclusions: The data from this study demonstrate that pulmonary embolism is an uncommon complication of shoulder arthroplasty and that surgeons should have a high degree of suspicion if patients have respiratory difficulty following shoulder arthroplasty.

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    Accreditation Statement
    These activities have been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint sponsorship of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
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