Improvement of venous pumping function by double progressive compression stockings: higher pressure over the calf is more important than a graduated pressure profile

Eur J Vasc Endovasc Surg. 2014 May;47(5):545-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ejvs.2014.01.006. Epub 2014 Feb 10.


Background: Previous studies have shown that so-called progressive elastic compression stockings (PECS) with a negative pressure gradient have a more pronounced effect on venous pump function than conventional, graduated stockings. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of higher graduated and non-graduated pressures on the venous calf pump in patients with venous disease.

Methods: The ejection fraction (EF) of the calf pump was measured by plethysmography under a standardized walking test in 20 patients suffering from chronic venous disease (CEAP C2-C5) without compression, (a) with one and (b) two PECS on top of each other, and (c) with one additional conventional stocking covering only the gaiter area to achieve a graduated high pressure profile. Interface pressure was measured in the gaiter area and on the calf.

Results: A significant improvement of EF compared with baseline was found with all three compression modalities. The two superimposed PECS, providing median pressures of 33 mmHg in the gaiter area and 46 mmHg at calf level, increased EF significantly up into the normal range. Increasing the gaiter pressure to 56 mmHg without changing the calf pressure did not result in further improvement.

Conclusions: Two PECS applied on top of each other lead to a maximal improvement of the venous pump function, which cannot be further improved by increasing the pressure in the gaiter area thereby restoring a graduated pressure profile.

Keywords: Ejection fraction; Graduated elastic compression stockings; Progressive elastic compression stockings; Venous calf pump function.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Equipment Design
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Plethysmography
  • Pressure
  • Stockings, Compression*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Venous Insufficiency / diagnosis
  • Venous Insufficiency / physiopathology
  • Venous Insufficiency / therapy*
  • Walking / physiology*