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INTRODUCTION

Intermittent compression therapy with a pneumatically inflated boot or sleeve will accelerate the processes of healing in advanced cases of venous insufficiency. Compression with a knee-high, single pulse system causes high velocity of blood flow measured over the femoral vein [1]. This augmentation reflects substantial emptying of venous capacity in the calf.

To treat venous insufficiency, intermittent pneumatic compression augments the benefit initially gained by prolonged bed rest and leg elevation. It accelerates edema control substantially and therefore serves a highly practical role in the initial treatment of advanced disease. Certainly, the more rapid results of therapy will provide a sense of satisfaction not experienced with other interventions. Furthermore, the device can be easily put on and taken off.

A pneumatic compression system for home treatment is relatively expensive. It is certainly confining during use. Nevertheless, the system has distinct advantages, and its application can be adapted into an acceptable lifestyle.

Pneumatic compression was originally developed to prevent deep vein thrombosis in high-risk, hospital patients. Intermittent leg compression actually simulates walking during periods of inactivity. The method is now well established for use during recovery from major surgery and in the specialty care units where complications of venostasis are common. Compression units are often used on patients during long surgical operations.

Compression with the pneumatically driven boot is best set at relatively low pressure. The power unit can be easily connected and disconnected from the boot.

Over the years, intermittent pneumatic compression has proven effective in accelerating healing of complications from venous reflux. It is emphasized, however, that the method must be used as an adjunct to the active treatment already outlined and not relied upon as the sole treatment.

To achieve satisfactory effectiveness, a compression system should be used two or three times a day for an hour or two each time. There should be no discomfort from its use, and indeed many people experience considerable relief within a short period. Some patients find that they can tolerate the devices and benefit from the use of a compression system throughout the night. The quick-release allows easy disconnecting.

For people with venostasis edema who must sit for extended periods, a pneumatic compression system can be used while seated. Indeed, some workers, hobbyists, and wheel chair-bound persons who spend much of the day sitting find that they can adapt to using compression devises with little inconvenience. Those with occupations requiring prolonged standing in one area may also find benefit without undue inconvenience.

The boot of a pneumatic compression system is easily applied over elastic and rigid dressings. It can be used when dermatitis is present if the leg is wrapped beforehand with a non-adherent stockinet and, if necessary, a protective covering such as a thin plastic material.

Friction on the skin occurs from slight lateral ...

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