Compression Stockings

What are compression stockings?

Compression stockings are plastic wraps that are placed around a patient's legs in order to decrease the chance of blood clot formation. They have compartments that inflate and deflate, gently squeezing the muscles of the legs. The stockings are connected to a small compressor that controls the timing of the inflation/deflation cycles. The squeezing action of the compression stockings improves the circulation in the leg veins, thus decresing the chance of clot formation. Most ICU patients have an increased risk of blood clot formation and compression stockings are one of the measures used to decrease this risk. Unfortunately, no measure is 100% effective at preventing the formation of blood clots in the leg veins of ICU patients.

How long are compression stockings used?

The stockings should be worn as long as patient is at increased risk of forming blood clots. They should remain on the patient as much as possible, both day and night. The stockings need to be worn to be effective.

Are there any complications associated with use of compression stockings?

Complications associated with use of compression stockings are very rare.

Do the stockings hurt?

Not usually. Some patients complain that the stockings are too warm.

Compression stockings on both legs