Title

Graduated Compression Stocking and Intermittent Pneumatic Compression Device Length Selection

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

Winter 2009

Abstract

PURPOSE:

The purpose of this project was to incorporate current evidence into length selection for graduated compression stockings (GCS) and intermittent pneumatic compression (IPC) devices in order to evaluate and modify current practice.

RATIONALE:

Staff nurses relate concerns regarding the fit and complications related to poorly fitting thigh length GCS and IPC devices. Current evidence supports using knee length over thigh length.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PROJECT:

With the use of Melnyk and Fineout-Overholt's model of evidence-based practice and Norwood's consultation model, current practice was evaluated and practice changes were implemented based on results of a literature review.

OUTCOME:

Knee length will be selected instead of thigh length in general and urology surgery patients. The department of obstetrics and gynecology has taken the practice change under consideration.

CONCLUSION:

Knee-length GCS and IPC devices are as effective as thigh-length GCS and IPC devices, are more comfortable for patients, are easier for staff and patients to use, pose less risk of injury to patients, and are less expensive. Knee-length GCS and IPC devices may safely be used for general, gynecology, and urology surgery patients and are preferable to thigh-length GCS and IPC devices.

IMPLICATIONS:

Venous thromboembolism prophylaxis is an important component of surgical care; proper length selection of GCS and IPC devices should be based on current evidence. This project outlines a method to change practice regarding length selection of GCS and IPC devices.