Van Bemmelen PS, Weiss-Olmanni J, Ricotta JJ.
Rapid intermittent compression increases skin circulation in chronically ischemic
legs with infra-popliteal arterial obstruction.
Vasa 2000 Feb;29(1):47-52

Division of Vascular Surgery, State University of New York, Stony Brook, USA.

BACKGROUND: Intermittent pneumatic compression (IPC) has been shown, by duplex,
to increase popliteal artery flow in normal legs and in legs with superficial
femoral artery occlusion. The objective of this study was to see if IPC improves
distal circulation in legs with severe infra-popliteal disease. PATIENTS AND
METHODS: Sixteen chronically ischemic legs with arteriographically demonstrated
crural or pedal disease were studied during compression with an ArtAssist
compression-device. This device delivers rapid compression of the foot and calf.
Cutaneous laser-Doppler flux was measured continuously at the dorsal aspect of
the distal forefoot. The findings were compared to those in thirteen normal
controls of similar age. RESULTS: In ischemic legs, the spontaneous changes in
skin-flux are minimal: mean resting flux in sitting position was 0.87 +/- 0.46 AU
(Arbitrary Units). Upon activation of the compression device the maximum flux
increased to 4.55 +/- 1.35 AU. The difference was statistically significant (p <
0.001). This response was similar to that in normal controls. CONCLUSION:
Arterial flow augmentation upon compression is associated with increased
skin-flux. This response remains present in severe disease of the crural
outflow-arteries. Further investigation to define the role of intermittent
compression for management of chronic arterial disease is warranted.