Compression therapy in 100 consecutive patients with venous leg ulcers

J Mal Vasc. 2013 Jul;38(4):252-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jmv.2013.05.006. Epub 2013 Jun 24.


Objective: To evaluate compression therapy for venous leg ulcers in terms of adherence, acceptability, quality, and effectiveness.

Design of study: Prospective observational cohort study.

Setting: Vascular diseases outpatient clinic in Paris, France.

Subjects: One hundred consecutive patients with active or healed leg ulcers and chronic lower limb venous insufficiency stage C5 or C6 in the CEAP classification scheme.

Interventions: Compression systems applied in a community-based practice.

Main outcome measures: A standardized form was used to collect: (1) data on patient adherence; (2) objective criteria evaluating the quality, effectiveness, and correct application of compression systems and; (3) patient education and perceptions about their compression therapy.

Results: Patient adherence with compression therapy was high (89%), even though it was often a source of discomfort. Only 10% of patients signaled no discomfort. Drawbacks reported by patients were excessive warmth (29%), pruritus (33%), unacceptably high cost (48%), and moderate to considerable difficulty putting on footwear (64%). In the 11% of patients who did not wear their compression system, reasons for nonadherence were inadequate comprehension of expected benefits (45.5%), pain related to compression (36.4%), difficulty applying the compression system (27.3%), and difficulty putting on footwear (27.3%). Application was correct in 51.7% of adherent patients; errors in the remaining patients included slippage, failure of the bandage to extend to just under the knee (55.8%), a tourniquet effect (21%), failure of bandaging starting at the base of the toes (37.2%), and failure to cover the heel (53.5%). Full edema control was achieved in 51.7% of adherent patients. Compression was adequate overall (worn, correctly applied, and effective) in 49% of adherent patients. The most common reasons for lack of effectiveness were inadequate pressure and errors in application. Lack of awareness of potential benefits and wearing modalities of compression therapy was noted in 56% of patients.

Conclusion: Patients, nurses, and physicians have inadequate knowledge of the modalities of compression therapy and as a result they are not well respected. Educational programs are needed.

Keywords: Adherence; Adhérence; Compression; Education program; Leg ulcer; Programme d’éducation; Ulcère de jambe.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Compliance / statistics & numerical data*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Stockings, Compression*
  • Varicose Ulcer / therapy*