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A Journal on Angiology
Official Journal of the , the International Union of Phlebology and the
Indexed/Abstracted in: BIOSIS Previews, Current Contents/Clinical Medicine, EMBASE, PubMed/MEDLINE, Science Citation Index Expanded (SciSearch), Scopus
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SPECIAL CONTRIBUTIONS FROM THE MEDITERRANEAN LEAGUE OF ANGIOLOGY AND VASCULAR SURGERY
International Angiology 2011 December;30(6):527-33
Dose finding for an optimal compression pressure to reduce chronic edema of the extremities
Partsch H. 1, Damstra R. J. 2, Mosti G. 3 ✉
1 Private Practictioner, Vienna, Austria;
2 Department of Dermatology, Phlebology and Lymphology, Nij Smellinghe Hospital, Drachten, The Netherlands;
3 Department of Angiology, Barbantini Clinic, Lucca, Italy
AIM: The optimal pressure to reduce chronic extremity swelling is still a matter of debate. The aim of this paper was to measure volume reduction of a swollen extremity depending on the amount of pressure exerted by compression stockings and inelastic bandages.
METHODS: Thirty-six patients with unilateral breast cancer related arm lymphedema were investigated in a lymph clinic in the Netherlands, 42 legs with chronic edema of the lower extremities were examined in a phlebological centre in Italy. The arm-patients were randomized to receive inelastic arm bandages with a pressure between 20-30 mmHg or 44-68 mmHg. The leg patients were either treated with compression stockings (23-32 mmHg) or with inelastic bandages (pressure 53-88 mmHg). Water-displacement volumetry and measurement of leg circumference was performed before and after compression.
RESULTS:In the arm-patients low pressure after 2 hours achieved a higher degree of volume reduction (-2.3%, 95% CI 1.0-3.6) than high pressure (-1.5%, 95% CI 0.2-2.8) (n.s.). In patients with leg edema compression stockings in the range between 20 and 40 mmHg showed a positive correlation between exerted pressure and volume reduction, bandages applied with an initial resting pressure of more than 60 mm Hg resulted in a decreasing volume reduction.
CONCLUSION: There is obviously an upper limit beyond which further increase of compression pressure seems counterproductive. For inelastic bandages this upper limit is around 30 Hg on the upper and around 50-60 mmHg on the lower extremity.