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Foot Ankle Int. 1997 Jul;18(7):432-8.

Fastest reduction of posttraumatic edema: continuous cryotherapy or intermittent impulse compression?

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Humboldt University Berlin, Virchow Klinikum, Department of Trauma and Reconstructive Surgery, Germany.


Sixty patients with foot or ankle trauma were randomized and treated in three groups. In intermittent impulse compression, an air pad under the foot was inflated every 20 seconds, thus activating the venous foot pump. In continuous cryotherapy, ice water circulates between the ice box and the cold pad. The ice water was changed once per day. In standard therapy, the injured extremity was treated with cool packs, which were changed 4 times per day. Beginning at admission, every 24 hours the circumference was measured around the ankle, midfoot, and forefoot. After 24 hours of treatment, there was a 47% reduction in swelling with the A-V impulse System, 33% with continuous cryotherapy, and 17% with cool packs. After 4 days of postoperative treatment, the A-V impulse System reduced the swelling by 74% versus 70% with continuous cryotherapy and 45% with cool packs. Both new methods are preferable to cool packs. Because of the better preoperative results, the A-V impulse System proved to be the most effective device.

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