CONTEXT: Venous thromboembolism (VTE), which encompasses deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE), is a serious potential complication in hospitalized patients. Thromboprophylaxis regimens include pharmacological and mechanical options such as intermittent pneumatic compression devices (IPCDs). There are a wide variety of IPCDs available, but it is uncertain if they vary in effectiveness or ease of use. OBJECTIVE: To systematically review the literature on the comparative effectiveness of IPCDs for selected outcomes (mortality, VTE, symptomatic or asymptomatic DVT, major bleeding, ease of use, and adherence) in post-operative surgical and high-risk medical patients. DATA SOURCES AND STUDY SELECTION: We searched MEDLINE (via PubMed), Embase, CINAHL, and Cochrane CENTRAL from January 1, 1995, to October 30, 2014, for peer-reviewed, English-language randomized controlled trials (RCTs). All searches used terms for IPCDs and the conditions of interest, along with validated search terms for RCTs. We also used terms to identify relevant observational studies on ease of use and adherence. Bibliographies of identified articles were further reviewed. To assess for possible publication bias, we searched ClinicalTrials.gov to identify completed but unpublished studies meeting our eligibility criteria. DATA SYNTHESIS: Eighteen RCTs and 3 observational studies were eligible; most were conducted in patients undergoing joint replacement surgery. Our review considered 3 types of evidence: 1) head-to-head comparisons of IPCDs; 2) indirect comparisons of IPCDs to a common comparator (eg, foot vs calf devices, each compared to anticoagulation); and 3) data on ease of use or adherence from patients or staff. The methodological quality of the included studies was variable and generally suboptimal. The most commonly studied devices were the Kendall SCD™ and A-V Impulse System™. Only 3 trials compared different IPCDs directly. One showed lower VTE rates for a VenaFlow® compared to the Kendall SCD, but 2 other studies showed no difference between the PlexiPulse® and the Kendall SCD. IPCDs were comparable to anticoagulation for major clinical outcomes (VTE: risk ratio [RR] 1.39; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.73 to 2.64). Limited data suggest that concurrent use of anticoagulation with IPCD may lower the risk of VTE compared to anticoagulation alone (RR 0.27; 95% CI 0.05 to 1.64) and that IPCD compared to anticoagulation may lower the risk of major bleeding (RR 0.33; 95% CI 0.07 to 1.51). Subgroup analyses did not show significant differences by device location, mode of inflation, or risk of bias elements. Overall, there were no consistent associations between specific brand-name IPCDs or sleeve location and ease of use or adherence. Chief limitations of the literature were the paucity of head-to-head comparisons between IPCDs in surgical and medical patients, and the identification of primarily asymptomatic DVTs of uncertain clinical importance. CONCLUSIONS: IPCDs are appropriate for VTE thromboprophylaxis when used in accordance with current clinical guidelines. The current evidence base to guide selection of a specific device or type of device is limited. When choosing a specific IPCD, focusing on device flexibility, acceptability by nursing staff and patients, and the most frequently studied devices, as well as on cost, can help direct selection of appropriate IPCDs. Comparative effectiveness studies are urgently needed to address current gaps in evidence.
Circulation. 2013 Aug 27;128(9):1003-20. doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.113.002690. Epub 2013 Jul 12.
BACKGROUND: Optimal thromboprophylaxis for patients at risk of bleeding remains uncertain. This meta-analysis assessed whether intermittentpneumatic compression (IPC) of the lower limbs was effective in reducing venous thromboembolism and whether combining pharmacological thromboprophylaxis with IPC would enhance its effectiveness. METHODS AND RESULTS: Two reviewers searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, and the Cochrane controlled trial register (1966-February 2013) for randomized, controlled trials and assessed the outcomes and quality of the trials independently. Trials comparing IPC with pharmacological thromboprophylaxis, thromboembolic deterrent stockings, no prophylaxis, and a combination of IPC and pharmacological thromboprophylaxis were considered. Trials that used IPC <24 hours or compared different types of IPC were excluded. A total of 16 164 hospitalized patients from 70 trials met the inclusion criteria and were subjected to meta-analysis. IPC was more effective than no IPC prophylaxis in reducing deep vein thrombosis (7.3% versus 16.7%; absolute risk reduction, 9.4%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 7.9-10.9; relative risk, 0.43; 95% CI, 0.36-0.52; P<0.01; I(2)=34%) and pulmonary embolism (1.2% versus 2.8%; absolute risk reduction, 1.6%; 95% CI, 0.9-2.3; relative risk, 0.48; 95% CI, 0.33-0.69; P<0.01; I(2)=0%). IPC was also more effective than thromboembolic deterrent stockings in reducing deep vein thrombosis and appeared to be as effective as pharmacological thromboprophylaxis but with a reduced risk of bleeding (relative risk, 0.41; 95% CI, 0.25-0.65; P<0.01; I(2)=0%). Adding pharmacological thromboprophylaxis to IPC further reduced the risk of deep vein thrombosis (relative risk, 0.54; 95% CI, 0.32-0.91; P=0.02; I(2)=0%) compared with IPC alone. CONCLUSIONS: IPC was effective in reducing venous thromboembolism, and combining pharmacological thromboprophylaxis with IPC was more effective than using IPC alone.
Yonsei Med J. 2013 May 1;54(3):801-2. doi: 10.3349/ymj.2013.54.3.801.
Intermittent pneumatic compression (IPC) device is an effective method to prevent deep vein thrombosis. This method has been known to be safe with very low rate of complications compared to medical thromboprophylaxis. Therefore, this modality has been used widely in patients who underwent a hip fracture surgery. We report a patient who developed extensive bullae, a potentially serious skin complication, beneath the leg sleeves during the use of IPC device after hip fracture surgery.