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Phlebology. 2012 Sep;27(6):289-96. doi: 10.1258/phleb.2011.011038. Epub 2011 Nov 16.

Compression stockings with moderate pressure are able to reduce chronic leg oedema.

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Angiology Department, MD Barbantini Clinic, Lucca, Italy.



To compare the efficacy of compression stockings and inelastic, high-pressure bandages concerning leg volume reduction in patients with chronic leg oedema.


Forty-two legs of 30 patients with chronic leg oedema caused by venous stasis were randomized to receive a strong inelastic bandage (IB) or an elastic stocking (ES) exerting a pressure of 23-32 mmHg. Changes in leg oedema were assessed after two and seven days by water displacement volumetry, measurements of leg circumferences and of skin thickness by using Duplex ultrasound. Interface pressure was registered under the compression devices for seven days.


There was no significant difference between stockings and bandages, which both produced a significant reduction in leg volume after two days (-9.6% [95% CI 7.5-11.8] by ES and -11.5% [95% CI 9.9-13.2%] by IB) and after seven days (-13.2% [95% CI 10.4-16.2] by ES and -15.6% [95% CI 12.8-18.4] by IB). Bandages showed a more pronounced reduction in leg circumference and in skin thickness in the calf region. The pressure of IB in the lying position fell from initially 63 to 22 mmHg after two days, but only from 33 to 26 mmHg under ES (median values). The optimal pressure range concerning oedema reduction was found between 40 and 60 mmHg, while higher pressures produced by bandages showed a negative correlation with volume reduction.


Compression stockings exerting a pressure of around 30 mmHg are nearly as effective as high-pressure bandages with an initial pressure over 60 mmHg in reducing chronic leg oedema.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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