Compression therapy and pressure in the deep venous system
Phlebology , Volume 18 - Issue 4 p. 192- 197
Objectives: To evaluate the effect of five different elastic compression stockings on the venous pressure in the deep venous system in the supine and standing positions. Methods: Setting: Departments of Dermatology and Radiology, University Hospital Maastricht, The Netherlands. Patients: A total of eight limbs of seven subjects (five patients and two healthy volunteers) with a mean age of 53 years (range 33-79) were measured. The patients were known to have severe venous insufficiency and recurrent leg ulceration. A catheter connected to an external pressure transducer was placed in one of the deep veins of the lower leg after puncturing the popliteal vein. The position of the catheter was established with contrast medium. Venous pressure recordings were made in the supine and standing positions while wearing an antiembolism stocking and while wearing four different compression stockings (class II and III). Results: All stockings worn in the supine position caused a significant increase in pressure when compared with no compression at all (P<0.05; Wilcoxon rank test). Only the strong compression class III stockings caused a significant and clinically relevant pressure increase, compared with the other four elastic compression stockings (P<0.05; Wilcoxon rank test). In the standing position no differences in pressure were found between the elastic stockings, or when any stocking was compared with the use of no stocking at all. Conclusions: The results demonstrate that only strong compression class III stockings (>40 mmHg at the ankle) increase the pressure in the deep venous system in the supine position. Because of this, these elastic stockings may be the only stockings that have a positive influence on the pathologic deep venous system in patients with deep venous insufficiency, such as after deep venous thrombosis. The study confirms earlier clinical observations that in the treatment of patients with post-thrombotic symptoms and deep venous insufficiency only strong elastic compression stockings are effective.