COMPRESSION STOCKINGS TO PREVENT POST-THROMBOTIC SYNDROME

STUDY LOOKS AT THE EFFECT OF COMPRESSION STOCKINGS IN PREVENTING POST-THROMBOTIC SYNDROME (DEC 2013)

BACKGROUND: Post-thrombotic syndrome occurs in up to one-third of patients who have been diagnosed with a deep vein thrombosis (DVT). The syndrome may include leg swelling, pain, leg ulcers, skin discoloration, leg heaviness, and venous insufficiency depending on the severity. Compression stockings are thought to help prevent the syndrome, and current AHA guidelines recommend that patients wear knee-high, graduated elastic compression stockings (30 - 40 mmHg at the ankle) daily for 2 years after their DVT to prevent post-thrombotic syndrome.


StraightHealthcare analysis: This well-done study found no benefit of elastic compression stockings in preventing post-thrombotic syndrome. This calls into question current AHA guidelines which recommend compression stockings for 2 years post-DVT to prevent post-thrombotic syndrome. In their discussion, the authors note that other studies with compression stockings have shown a benefit in preventing post-thrombotic syndrome, but these studies used open-label designs (control group received nothing), and this likely biased their outcomes.

There is no good evidence that compression stockings prevent post-thrombotic syndrome, and they should not be recommended.