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A Journal on Anesthesiology, Resuscitation, Analgesia and Intensive Care

Official Journal of the Italian Society of Anesthesiology, Analgesia, Resuscitation and Intensive Care
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Minerva Anestesiologica 2014 March;80(3):355-65

language: English

A review of the hemodynamic effects of external leg and lower body compression

Helmi M., Gommers D., Groeneveld A. B. J.

Department of Intensive Care Adults, Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands


Background: External leg and lower body compression (ELC) has been used for decades in the prevention of deep vein thrombosis and the treatment of leg ischemia. Because of systemic effects, the methods have regained interest in anesthesia, surgery and critical care. This review intends to summarize hemodynamic effects and their mechanisms.
Methods: Compilation of relevant literature published in English as full paper and retrieved from Medline.
Results: By compressing veins, venous stasis is diminished and venous return and arterial blood flow are increased. ELC has been suggested to improve systemic hemodynamics, in different clinical settings, such as postural hypotension, anesthesia, surgery, shock, cardiopulmonary resuscitation and mechanical ventilation. However, the hemodynamic alterations depend upon the magnitude, extent, cycle, duration and thus the modality of ELC, when applied in a static or intermittent fashion (by pneumatic inflation), respectively.
Conclusion: ELC may help future research and optimizing treatment of hemodynamically unstable, surgical or critically ill patients, independent of plasma volume expansion.

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