Use of Intermittent Pneumatic Compression and Not Graduated Compression Stockings Is Associated With Lower Incident VTE in Critically Ill Patients: A Multiple Propensity Scores Adjusted Analysis

Chest. 2013 Jul;144(1):152-159. doi: 10.1378/chest.12-2028.


Background: A limited amount of data exist regarding the effect of intermittent pneumatic compression (IPC) and graduated compression stockings (GCS) on the incidence of VTE in the ICU setting. The objective of this study was to examine the association of mechanical thromboprophylaxis with IPC or GCS with the risk of VTE and hospital mortality among critically ill medical-surgical patients.

Methods: In this prospective cohort study of patients admitted to the ICU of a tertiary-care medical center between July 2006 and January 2008, we used multiple propensity scores adjustment to examine the association of IPC and GCS with VTE. The primary outcome was incident VTE, including DVT and pulmonary embolism. The following data were collected: patient demographics, admission physiologic data, VTE risk factors, pharmacologic thromboprophylaxis, and mechanical thromboprophylaxis.

Results: Among 798 patients enrolled in the study, incident VTE occurred in 57 (7.1%). The use of IPC was associated with a significantly lower VTE incidence compared with no mechanical thromboprophylaxis (propensity scores adjusted hazard ratio, 0.45; 95% CI, 0.22-0.95; P=.04). GCS were not associated with decreased VTE incidence. No significant interaction was found between the mechanical thromboprophylaxis group and the type of prophylactic heparin used (P=.99), recent trauma (P=.66), or recent surgery (P=.07) on VTE risk.

Conclusions: The use of IPC, but not GCS, was associated with a significantly lower VTE risk. This association was consistent regardless of the type of prophylactic heparin used and was not modified by trauma or surgical admission.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cohort Studies
  • Critical Care
  • Critical Illness*
  • Female
  • Hospital Mortality
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Inpatients*
  • Intermittent Pneumatic Compression Devices*
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Venous Thromboembolism / epidemiology*
  • Venous Thromboembolism / prevention & control*