Research Article

Graded compression for preventing deep venous thrombosis.

Br Med J 1976; 2 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.2.6042.969 (Published 23 October 1976) Cite this as: Br Med J 1976;2:969
  1. C P Holford

    Abstract

    The physiological effects of static compression of the leg have recently been reinvestigated. Graded compression extending from the ankle to the upper thigh produces the maximum increase in velocity of femoral vein blood flow and the maximum decrease in clearance times of contrast media and radioisotopes from the deep veins of the calf. This type of compression may be easily produced by a specially designed elastic stocking. Graded compression was used in a controlled clinical trial of 98 patients undergoing major operations to assess its effect on isotopically diagnosed deep vein thrombosis. The incidence of deep vein thrombosis was 49% in the control group and 23% in the treated groups. No complications were caused by the stockings. Carefully designed and correctly applied static compression is a safe and effective method of reducing the incidence of deep vein thrombosis.