Enhancing venous outflow in the lower limb with intermittent pneumatic compression. A comparative haemodynamic analysis on the effect of foot vs. calf vs. foot and calf compression.

Research paper by K T KT Delis, G G Slimani, H M HM Hafez, A N AN Nicolaides

Indexed on: 07 Feb '01Published on: 07 Feb '01Published in: European Journal of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery


intermittent pneumatic compression (IPC), an established method of deep-vein thrombosis prophylaxis, is also an effective means of leg inflow enhancement, improving the walking capacity and ankle pressure of claudicants, long-term. This study, using duplex ultrasonography, compares the haemodynamic effect of IPC of the (a) foot (at 120 mmHg [IPC(foot/120 mmHg)], and 180 mmHg [IPC(foot/180 mmHg)]), (b) calf (IPC(calf), 120 mmHg) and (c) both simultaneously (IPC(foot+calf), 120 mmHg), on the venous outflow of 20 legs of normals and 25 legs of claudicants.the peak and mean velocities, volume flow and pulsatility index in the superficial femoral and popliteal veins of both groups increased significantly with all IPC modes (p<0.001). IPC(foot+calf)produced the highest enhancement followed by IPC(calf)(p<0.01), which was more effective (p<0.001) than either IPC(foot/180 mmHg)or IPC(foot/120 mmHg). The venous volume expelled with IPC(calf)and IPC(foot+calf)was 2-2.5 and 3-3.5 times that with IPC(foot/180 mmHg)respectively. Velocity enhancement with IPC was similar between groups and the superficial femoral and popliteal veins. IPC(foot/180 mmHg)produced higher (p<0. 01) flow velocities than IPC(foot/120 mmHg)in both groups and veins examined; however, differences were limited.all IPC modes proved effective, IPC(foot+calf)generating the highest venous outflow enhancement. Higher venous volumes expelled with IPC(foot+calf)explain its reported superiority on leg inflow over the other modes. Increase of applied pressure from 120 to 180 mmHg with IPC(foot)offered only a small outflow improvement. Venous haemodynamics at rest and with IPC in claudicants do not differ significantly from those in healthy subjects.