What is the efficacy of elastic compression stockings (ECS) for the prevention of postthrombotic syndrome (PTS) in patients with deep venous thrombosis (DVT)?

Updated: Jun 05, 2019
  • Author: Kaushal (Kevin) Patel, MD; Chief Editor: Barry E Brenner, MD, PhD, FACEP  more...
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In a randomized controlled study from an Italian university setting involving 180 patients who presented with a first episode of symptomatic proximal DVT, Prandoni and colleagues found below-the-knee ECS to have value for the prevention of PTS. After conventional anticoagulation with heparin, patients were discharged on therapeutic warfarin for 3-6 months and randomly assigned to the control group (no ECS) or the ECS group. Graduated compression stockings with ankle pressures of 30-40 mm Hg were given to the participants, who were required to wear them daily on the affected leg or legs over 2 years. Ninety percent of trial participants were compliant (wore the stockings for at least 80% of daytime hours), and 5-year cumulative data was evaluated to compare the incidence of PTS between the groups. [159]

A standardized validated scale was used to assess symptoms, severity, and/or progression of PTS. PTS occurred in 26% of patients who wore ECS compared with 49% of patients without ECS. All patients with PTS except one developed manifestations of the syndrome within the first 2 years after the initial diagnosis of DVT. The number of patients who need to be treated with ECS was estimated at 4.3 to prevent one case of PTS. The adjusted hazard ratio was 0.49 (CI 0.29-0.84, P = .011) in favor of ECS. Almost 50% of their patients with proximal DVT developed PTS within 2 years.

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