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Researchers find compression stockings to be as good as bandages

9th January 2014

Ashby RL, Gabe R, Ali S, et al (2013) Clinical and cost-effectiveness of compression hosiery versus compression bandages in treatment of venous leg ulcers (Venous Leg Ulcer Study IV, VenUS IV): a randomised controlled trial. Lancet early online publication 6 December 2013

The authors undertook a study to compare the clinical and cost-effectiveness of two-layer compression hosiery compared with four-layer bandaging for the treatment of venous leg ulcers.

457 participants, aged 18 years or older with venous leg ulcers, were recruited from 34 centres (community nurse teams, GP practices, and leg ulcer, tissue viability or wound clinics) in England and Northern Ireland and divided into two treatment groups (230 to be treated with compression hosiery and 227 with four-layer bandaging). Participants had to have a brachial pressure index of at least 0.8 and to be able to tolerate high compression. The endpoint was time to healing.

453 participants completed the study (230 hosiery and 223 bandage), with the findings showing that median time to healing was 99 days in the hosiery group and 98 days in the bandage group.

The authors concluded that two-layer compression hosiery was as effective as four-layer bandaging for the treatment of venous leg ulcers, although cautioned that hosiery might not be suitable for all patients. 

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