Objectives: This study sought to assess the efficacy of compression bandage of legs and abdomen in preventing hypotension and symptoms.
Background: Progressive orthostatic hypotension can occur in elderly people during standing.
Methods: Twenty-one patients (70 +/- 11 years) affected by symptomatic progressive orthostatic hypotension underwent 2 tilt-test procedures, with and without elastic bandage of the legs (compression pressure 40 to 60 mm Hg) and of the abdomen (compression pressure 20 to 30 mm Hg) in a randomized crossover fashion. Leg bandage was administered for 10 min and was followed by an additional abdominal bandage for a further 10 min. Symptoms were evaluated by a 7-item Specific Symptom Score (SSS) questionnaire before and after 1 month of therapy with elastic compression stockings of the legs (prescribed in all patients irrespective of the results of the tilt study).
Results: In the control arm, systolic blood pressure decreased from 125 +/- 18 mm Hg immediately after tilting to 112 +/- 25 mm Hg after 10 min of sham leg bandage and to 106 +/- 25 mm Hg after 20 min despite the addition of sham abdominal bandage. The corresponding values with active therapy were 129 +/- 19 mm Hg, 127 +/- 17 mm Hg (p = 0.003 vs. control), and 127 +/- 21 mm Hg (p = 0.002 vs. control). In the active arm, 90% of patients remained asymptomatic, versus 53% in the control arm (p = 0.02). During the month before evaluation, the mean SSS score was 35.2 +/- 12.1 with dizziness, weakness, and palpitations accounting for 64% of the total score. The SSS score decreased to 22.5 +/- 11.3 after 1 month of therapy (p = 0.01).
Conclusions: Lower limb compression bandage is effective in avoiding orthostatic systolic blood pressure decrease and in reducing symptoms in elderly patients affected by progressive orthostatic hypotension.