Objectives: Post-thrombotic syndrome (PTS) is a complication of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) characterized by chronic pain, swelling and heaviness, and may result in ulceration. Elastic compression stockings (ECS) worn daily after DVT appear to reduce the incidence and severity of PTS. The aims of our study were to investigate practices and perceptions of DVT patients and physicians regarding the use of ECS after DVT.
Methods: Two surveys were conducted. The first was sent to 225 staff and trainee clinicians and the second was administered to 150 DVT patients.
Results: The results demonstrated that the majority of senior staff (75%) believed that ECS were effective in preventing PTS and in managing venous symptoms. However, this was in contrast with junior trainees (21%) (P < 0.05). This resulted in only 63% of patients being prescribed ECS post-DVT. There was a lack of consensus as regards the optimal timing of initiation of ECS, duration of therapy and compression strength. Nearly all DVT patients who were prescribed ECS purchased them, 74% wore them daily, and most (61%) reported that ECS relieved swelling and symptoms. Physicians correctly predicted the main reasons for non-compliance, but misjudged the scale of patient compliance with ECS.
Conclusions: Our findings suggest that there is a lack of consensus among doctors regarding ECS use after DVT and widespread education regarding the latest evidence of the benefit of ECS after DVT.