Chen AH, Frangos SG, Kilaru S, Sumpio BE.
Intermittent pneumatic compression devices - physiological mechanisms of actions.
Eur J Vasc Endovasc Surg 2001 May ;21(5):383-92

Yale University School of Medicine, Section of Vascular Surgery, 333 Cedar Street,
New Haven, FMB 137, CT 06520, USA.

There are many reports of how IPC is used effectively in the clinical setting;
including the prevention of deep venous thrombosis, improvement of circulation in
patients with lower extremity arterial diseases, reduction of lymphoedema, and the
healing of venous ulcers. However, despite the widely accepted use of IPC, it is
still unclear how IPC actually exerts its beneficial effects. The exact
physiological mechanisms of action are unknown. The clinical utility of IPC and
the putative mechanisms by which IPC could exert its therapeutic effect will be
reviewed. The paper will examine the mechanical effects of IPC exerted on the
lower extremity, and the subsequent biochemical changes in the circulation. In
vitro studies of the effects of mechanical stress such as compressive strain and
shear on cultured endothelial cells, and their clinical relevance to IPC will
also be reviewed. Copyright 2001 Harcourt Publishers Limited.