AT PRESENT, the accepted treatment of thromboembolism falls into two categories: (1) treatment by anticoagulants and (2) treatment by vein ligation. Accumulated evidence seems to indicate that the use of anticoagulants is satisfactory and has definite advantages over vein ligation. On the other hand, there still exists a small number of patients in whom the best results are obtained by combining the two modes of therapy. This combination consists in ligation of the vena cava, to prevent emboli reaching the heart and lungs, and use of anticoagulant medication, to prevent any propagation of the existing thrombophlebitis.
Various types of vein ligations have been advocated for the prevention of pulmonary embolism. Superficial femoral vein ligations were first undertaken, then common femoral vein ligations, and even external iliac vein ligations. These procedures offer incomplete protection against pulmonary embolism arising from the pelvis. Ligation of the femoral or external iliac vessels leaves an