Therapeutic effect of compression stockings versus no compression on isolated superficial vein thrombosis of the legs: a randomized clinical trial

Eur J Vasc Endovasc Surg. 2014 Oct;48(4):465-71. doi: 10.1016/j.ejvs.2014.06.047. Epub 2014 Aug 10.


Objective/background: Leg compression is considered basic treatment for superficial vein thrombosis (SVT), although scientific proof for its efficacy is lacking. The aim of the study was to evaluate the therapeutic effect of compression stockings on isolated SVT of the legs.

Methods: This was a single-center randomized controlled trial. Eighty patients with isolated SVT of the legs were instructed to wear compression stockings (23-32 mmHg) (CG) or no compression (NCG) for 3 weeks. All patients received low molecular weight heparin (LMWH) at prophylactic dosage. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) were allowed. The primary outcome variable was the reduction of pain as assessed by a visual analog scale (VAS) and the Lowenberg test. Secondary outcomes were the consumption of analgesics, thrombus length, skin erythema, D-dimer, and quality of life (QoL).

Results: Seventy-three patients completed the study. Clinical symptoms and QoL significantly improved from baseline to day 21 in both groups (p < .001 for VAS, Lowenberg test, thrombus length, and erythema; p < .006 for QoL), and consumption of analgesics and D-dimer significantly decreased (p < .001). There was no significant difference between the groups for all tested variables. At day 7, patients in the CG revealed a significantly faster thrombus regression (p = .02).

Conclusion: Adding compression stockings for 3 weeks to LMWH and NSAIDs does not bring significant additional benefit in the treatment of isolated SVT. When worn for 1 week, compression stockings stimulate significantly faster thrombus regression.

Keywords: Compression stockings; Leg pain; Quality of life; Superficial venous thrombosis.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Leg / blood supply*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / etiology
  • Pain / prevention & control*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life
  • Stockings, Compression*
  • Therapeutic Occlusion / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ultrasonography
  • Venous Thrombosis / complications
  • Venous Thrombosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Venous Thrombosis / therapy*