March 1977

Effectiveness of Elastic Stocking Decompression

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics (Drs Byars and Hopkins), and Surgery (Dr Tarnay), West Virginia University, Morgantown.

Arch Surg. 1977;112(3):335-339. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1977.01370030107019

• The compression effectiveness of the five leading brands of antiembolism stockings was compared and related to criteria previously described (pressure gradient diminishing from 18 mm Hg at the ankle to 8 mm Hg at the thigh). Tests were conducted using a standard leg form in common use within the hosiery industry, fitted with specially developed sensors. All of the stockings achieved pressures higher than recommended—some substantially. Elastic stockings from two manufacturers demonstrated tourniquet effects at the calf. Several brands ceased to preserve a continuously diminishing pressure gradient above the knee. Deviation of leg diameter from standard geometry was accompanied by a substantial increase (decrease) in pressure with increasing (decreasing) girth. Reproducibility of pressure effects produced by identical-sized stockings varied among the brands tested.

(Arch Surg 112:335-339, 1977)