Surgical compression stockings measurably improve venous physiologic mechanisms, and stocking brands do not differ from one another.
Eleven patients, (8 men and 3 women [mean age, 53 years]), were included. Six patients had primary venous insufficiency and 5 patients had secondary venous insufficiency; 5 patients were in CEAP class 4 and 6 were in CEAP class 5. Patients were randomly assigned to a sequence of 4 brands of knee-high, open-toe, 30– to 40–mm Hg stockings. Each patient wore a stocking for a 1-month equilibration period, then a different stocking monthly for 4 months in a row. Air plethysmography examinations were performed with and without stockings before and after each month of wear. Patients filled out a daily stocking record log and a monthly satisfaction survey. Stockings underwent compression testing after use.
Stockings controlled reflux better than they improved calf muscle pump function. With stockings on, patients in CEAP 4 benefited more than those in CEAP 5 in decreasing reflux, while patients in CEAP 5 benefited more than those in CEAP 4 in improving calf muscle pump function. Changes in residual volume fraction were improved in patients in CEAP 5 wearing stockings but not in patients in CEAP 4. Patients with primary disease had greater volumes of reflux and calf ejection than with secondary disease. There were no hemodynamic differences between stocking brands but there were differences in patient compliance and acceptance.
Surgical support stockings seem to be more effective in controlling reflux than in improving calf muscle pump function. All stocking brands function equally as measured by air plethysmography.