Macklon, N.S. and Greer, I.A.
Compression stockings and posture: a comparative study of their effects on the proximal deep veins of the leg at rest
British Journal of Radiology, 68, (809), . (doi:10.1259/0007-1285-68-809-515). (PMID:7788238).
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Graduated compression stockings have been shown to reduce the incidence of deep venous thrombosis. While they are thought to act primarily by increasing venous flow velocity, their mode of action remains uncertain. Doppler ultrasound was employed to study the relative effects of three types of support stocking on the deep venous diameter, flow velocity and pulsatility in 10 non-pregnant female subjects. In addition, the effect of altered posture on the same parameters was assessed. Significant effects of the graduated stockings were found at the level of the popliteal vein, where a reduction in both the diameter and the amplitude of respiratory phasicity was recorded (p < 0.05). No significant increase in flow velocities was recorded. Adopting the left lateral position significantly increased flow velocity in the right common femoral vein (p < 0.05). The application of stockings in this position produced no additional increase in flow velocities, but did alter the amplitude of respiratory phasicity. These data do not support the widely held view that graduated compression stockings increase flow velocities at rest. Adopting a lateral recumbent position significantly increases flow velocity in the non-dependent leg.
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