Research Article| Volume 14, ISSUE 5, P203-209, September 2005

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Compression Stockings and the Prevention of Symptomatic Venous Thromboembolism: Data From the Tinzaparin in Acute Ischemic Stroke Trial

      Background: Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is a well-recognized and preventable complication of acute stroke. Although graduated compression stockings reduce the risk of VTE for patients undergoing operation, their benefit in acute stroke remains uncertain. Methods: The relationship between symptomatic VTE (sVTE) and use of stockings using observational data from the Tinzaparin in Acute Ischemic Stroke Trial, which compared 10 days of treatment with tinzaparin (175 IU/kg−1 or 100 IU/kg−1) with aspirin (300 mg), was assessed using logistic regression adjusted for known VTE risk factors and treatment. Results: sVTE Occurred in 28 patients (1.9%; 18 with deep vein thrombosis and 13 with pulmonary embolism) within 15 days of enrollment in 1479 patients. Patients wearing one or two stockings for any period of time during the first 10 days (n = 803) had a nonsignificant increase (odds ratio 2.45, 95% confidence interval 0.95-6.32) in the risk of sVTE. In contrast, those wearing bilateral stockings for 10 days (n = 374) had a nonsignificant reduction in the odds of sVTE as compared with those who wore no stockings or wore them for less than 10 days (odds ratio 0.65, 95% confidence interval 0.26-1.65). Mild stroke and treatment with tinzaparin were associated with a reduced risk of VTE. Conclusions: Bilateral graduated compression stockings may reduce the incidence of VTE by one third for patients with acute ischemic stroke. However, the uncertainty in this finding, low frequency of sVTE, potential for stockings to cause harm, and cost of stockings highlight the need for a large randomized controlled trial to examine the safety and efficacy of stockings in acute stroke.

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