Author(s): Bergan JJ, Sparks SR
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Abstract Non-elastic compression has been used to treat venous insufficiency of the lower extremities for more than 150 years. The best and most recognized example is the Unna boot. When compared with other dressings, the Unna boot has performed as well as or better than other forms of compression. While the Unna boot is used worldwide, a 3- or 4-layer dressing has emerged as the dressing of choice in treating severe chronic venous insufficiency in the United States and English-speaking European countries. In the United States, non-elastic compression can also be applied as a CircAid legging. This semirigid support has been compared with heavyweight class 3 below-knee medical stockings. At 2 and 6 hours after application, inelastic compression maintained limb size and reduced venous volume better than did stockings. At 6 hours, the ejection fraction of the calf muscle pump was increased and venous filling index significantly improved with inelastic compression compared with stockings. Comparison of elastic stockings with short-stretch bandages has also been completed. The short-stretch bandage was found to be similar but not identical to the semirigid inelastic support device. The studies have shown that venous filling index improved by short-stretch bandaging and that venous reflux time was prolonged more by the short-stretch bandages than by stockings. The findings of these studies demonstrate that the inelastic support dressing mimics the action of the Unna boot in providing counter-pressure to perforating vein outflow. This may improve cutaneous and subcutaneous microcirculation in a manner similar to perforating vein surgery, which has been shown to accelerate leg ulcer healing.
This article was published in J Wound Ostomy Continence Nurs
and referenced in Journal of Tissue Science & Engineering