A trial involving 2,876 patients, published in the Lancet, indicates that inexpensive inflatable leg wraps may help save the lives of hospitalised patients after they have had stroke. The devices squeeze the legs regularly and help to keep blood flowing, thereby reducing the formation of potentially fatal blood clots (deep vein thromboses) in immobile patients.
The research, based at Western General Hospital and the University of Edinburgh, found that 8.5% of patients using the compression device developed blood clots, compared with 12.1% of patients treated normally. Such treatment, if included in NICE guidelines and applied nationally, could help 60,000 stroke patients per year in the UK; potentially preventing 3,000 people developing a deep vein thromboses and saving an estimated 1,500 lives.
Gallagher, J. (2013). Leg wraps raise hopes of saved lives after strokes. London: BBC Health News, May 31st 2013.
This relates to:
CLOTS (Clots in Legs Or sTockings after Stroke) Trials Collaboration. (2013). Effectiveness of intermittent pneumatic compression in reduction of risk of deep vein thrombosis in patients who have had a stroke (CLOTS 3): a multicentre randomised controlled trial. Lancet. Epub. May 31st 2013.
[A brief reference to this item features in Dementia and Elderly Care: the Latest Evidence Newsletter (RWNHST), Volume 3 Issue 9, August 2013].