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February 1975

Type of Compression for Reducing Venous Stasis: A Study of Lower Extremities During Inactive Recumbency

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Surgery, Medical College of Pennsylvania (Drs. Sigel and Hasty, Ms. Edelstein, and Mr. Savitch) and the Veterans Administration Hospital (Dr. Felix), Philadelphia.

Arch Surg. 1975;110(2):171-175. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1975.01360080037005

Determination of the optimal compression to reduce venous stasis was studied in terms of the amount of pressure and manner of application (graded or uniform pressure). Both lower extremities of seven inactive recumbent subjects were tested using transcutaneous Doppler ultrasonic measurement of femoral vein blood flow velocity. Optimal compression was defined as the externally applied pressure that produced the greatest increase in femoral vein flow velocity consistent with safety and the practicality of hospital use of elastic stockings. Optimal compression for elastic stockings to be used by hospitalized patients who spend substantial time in bed should be 18 to 8 mm Hg (ankle to midthigh). At this compression, average femoral vein blood flow velocity is increased to 138.4% of base line. Gradient compression at this level was found to produce a greater femoral vein flow velocity than the same amount of compression distributed uniformly over the lower extremity.

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