Indexed on: 04 Jul '02Published on: 04 Jul '02Published in: World Journal of Surgery
Intermittent pneumatic leg compression (IPC) increases arterial calf inflow and foot skin blood flux in normal subjects and claudicants. Our hypothesis was that IPC could enhance foot skin blood flux after infrainguinal grafting and thus promote distal perfusion in limbs with tissue loss. The aim of this study was to compare the effects of three IPC modes [applied to the foot (IPCfoot), the calf (IPCcalf), or both (IPCfoot+calf)] on foot skin perfusion in healthy individuals, claudicants, and patients after infrainguinal arterial revascularization performed for critical or subcritical limb ischemia. Altogether, 20 healthy limbs, 22 claudicating limbs, and 36 limbs of arteriopaths with prior successful autologous femoropopliteal and femorodistal (18 each) grafts were examined. Five-minute laser Doppler recordings were obtained from the pulp of the big toe in the sitting position, at rest, and during random applications of IPCfoot, IPCcalf, and IPCfoot+calf delivered at 120 mmHg for 4 seconds three times per minute. Foot skin blood flux increased using all IPC modes (p <0.001), with IPCfoot and IPCfoot+calf generating higher flux levels than IPCcalf (p <0.01) in all groups. Intergroup differences of flux with each of the three IPC modes were not significant. IPCfoot and IPCfoot+calf similarly (p > 0.14) produced a higher percentage flux increase than IPCcalf in all groups (p <0.004). Controls had a higher percentage flux increase with both IPCcalf and IPCfoot than did claudicants (p? 0.016). No differences were documented between normal and grafted limbs (p > 0.05). The percentage flux increase with IPCfoot+calf and IPCcalf was significantly higher in femorodistal grafts than in femoropopliteal ones (p ? 0.026). IPC enhances skin blood flux in limbs with infrainguinal bypass, claudication, and normal arteries, with IPCfoot and IPCfoot+calf being more effective than IPCcalf. Our findings suggest that IPC may be beneficial in limbs with impaired distal perfusion and thus may have clinical implications in the treatment of leg ulcers either prior to or after revascularization.