Short report. Graduated elastic compression stockings on a stroke unit: a feasibility study
Age and Ageing
thrombo-embolic complications are important causes of morbidity and mortality after acute stroke. Anticoagulant prophylaxis is contraindicated in intracerebral haemorrhage and not recommended in acute ischaemic stroke because of increased risk of cerebral haemorrhage. Graduated elastic compression stockings are a simple alternative but are not widely used in stroke patients, perhaps because of perceived contraindications and problems with tolerability. Objectives: to establish the feasibility
... h the feasibility and tolerability of graduated compression stockings on a stroke unit. Design: we assessed 112 consecutive stroke patients for contraindications to and tolerability of graduated compression stockings. Measurements: we used clinical indices and ankle-brachial Doppler pressure measures to assess suitability. We prospectively assessed tolerability of the stockings. Results: Ninety-four (84%) of the 112 patients had no contraindications to the use of the stockings. The most common contraindication was an ankle-brachial index of <0.8. Other contraindications were marked dependent leg oedema (1/18) and severe venous ulceration. Eighty-nine (95%) of the 94 patients tolerated the stockings and wore them until discharge. Skin irritation was the most common reason for intolerance. Conclusions: contraindications to the use of graduated compression stockings can be defined using clinical criteria and a Doppler machine to calculate an ankle-brachial pressure index. If this is done, tolerability is excellent. This approach may be a useful alternative in preventing venous thrombo-embolism in stroke patients.