Many patients with lower limb edema do not tolerate traditional higher-pressure compression devices and require alternative devices for edema control.
Two systems were evaluated for control of bilateral or unilateral lower limb edema: an elasticized longitudinal stockinette (ELS; EdemaWear; Compression Dynamics, Omaha, Nebraska) and an elasticized tubular bandage (ETB; Tubigrip; Mölnlycke Health Care, Norcross, Georgia). Twenty-five patients were recruited; patients with bilateral edema (n = 12) wore the ELS on one limb, and the ETB on the other. Patients with unilateral edema (n = 13) were randomized to wear either the ELS or ETB. Edema measurements, leg pain, and patient preference were recorded.
There were 14 females (56%) and 11 males (44%); mean age was 66 years (range, 32-88 years); and mean body mass index was 40.4 kg/m2 (range, 26.1–66.9 kg/m2). Patients with bilateral edema wearing ELS had a foot-to-leg circumference between 25.5 and 42.9 cm pre-ELS that remained essentially unchanged at 2 weeks. The five patients with unilateral edema using ELS had a 24.3– to 43.7-cm circumference pre-ELS and 24.2- to 42.6-cm range at 2 weeks. The patients with bilateral edema using ETBs had a foot-to-leg circumference of 25.5 to 43.7 cm before treatment, unchanged 2 weeks later. The eight patients with unilateral edema using ETB had a 25.4- to 45.3-cm circumference pre-ETB and 24.8– to 42.0-cm range post-ETB. Mean pain levels decreased from 1.0 at week 0 to 0.5 at week 2. More patients preferred ELS (17/23, 78.3%) over ETB (5/23, 21.7%).
Both systems were easy to apply and provided low compression without increased pain. The ELS was preferred by more patients (78.3%) than ETB (21.7%).