Indications for compression therapy in venous and lymphatic disease consensus based on experimental data and scientific evidence. Under the auspices of the IUP.

Partsch H, Flour M, Smith PC; International Compression Club.

Int Angiol. 2008 Jun;27(3):193-219.

AIM: The aim of this study was to review published literature concerning the use of compression treatments in the management of venous and lymphatic diseases and establish where reliable evidence exists to justify the use of medical compression and where further research is required to address areas of uncertainty. METHODS: The authors searched medical literature databases and reviewed their own collections of papers, monographs and books for papers providing information about the effects of compression and randomized clinical trials of compression devices. Papers were classified in accordance with the recommendations of the GRADE group to categorize their scientific reliability. Further classification was made according to the particular clinical problem that was addressed in the papers. The review included papers on compression stockings, bandages and intermittent pneumatic compression devices. RESULTS: The International Compression Club met once in Vienna and corresponded by email in order to reach an agreement of how the data should be interpreted. A wide range of compression levels was reported to be effective. Low levels of compression 10-30 mmHg applied by stockings are effective in the management of telangiectases after sclerotherapy, varicose veins in pregnancy, the prevention of edema and deep vein thrombosis (DVT). High levels of compression produced by bandaging and strong compression stockings (30-40 mmHg) are effective at healing leg ulcers and preventing progression of post-thrombotic syndrome as well as in the management of lymphedema. In some areas no reliable evidence was available to permit recommendations of level of compression or duration of treatment. These included: management of varicose veins to prevent progression, following surgical treatment or sclerotherapy for varicose veins, and the level of compression required to treat acute DVT. CONCLUSION: This review shows that whilst good evidence for the use of compression is available in some clinical indications, there is much still to be discovered. Little is know about dosimetry in compression, for how long and at what level compression should be applied. The differing effects of elastic and short-stretch compression are also little understood.