HomeStrategiesSkin HealthVenous stasis calls for compression: Use this chart to help choose the right solution for your patients
Skin Health

Venous stasis calls for compression: Use this chart to help choose the right solution for your patients

Did you know chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) affects approximately 2.5 million people in the United States?1 It’s typically caused by venous walls or valves failing to move blood adequately back to the heart from the legs, and it can result in blood collecting in the lower extremities. This leads to a buildup of pressure and swelling, which can cause fluid and blood to leak out of veins, creating a risk for developing venous ulcers or stasis.

2.5 million
Americans affected by chronic
venous insufficiency1
People with CVI who develop
venous stasis1
$15 million
Estimated annual cost burden
of venous leg ulcers in the2

About 20 percent of people with CVI develop venous stasis.1 From poor blood flow and painful swelling to dry, itchy skin and hard-to-heal wounds, venous stasis is a life-long disease that requires ongoing treatment–and a willingness from patients to practice self-care.

How do you treat venous stasis? Compression therapy is considered the gold standard for treatment.

Compression therapy helps:

  • Return blood flow from the leg back to the heart
  • Restore normal pressure back in the superficial veins
  • Prevent and reduce edema by forcing fluid back into the capillaries
  • Maintain venous wounds
  • Prevent further venous stasis and deterioration of venous walls
  • Relieve aching and heavy leg
  • Increase blood flow to the skin

“Compression is used to bring the body into homeostasis, the word for body balance,”
Robyn “Redd” Smith M.Ed., COTA/L, CLWT, CLT, clinical education liaison at SIGVARIS INC. and Medline consultant

Smith says even physicians may believe that compression is used to squeeze fluid out when, in fact, it is to balance pressure, to “replace the natural function of the body.” Smith draws on the analogy of a leak in a garden hose. “If you put your finger against the hole lightly, it will still leak, but if you push against it with equal and opposite pressure, the leak will stop.”

The balancing of pressure forms the basis of compression.

There are many compression therapy options available, and it can be confusing to know which one is right for your patient. Here, we provide a reference chart to help simplify the decision-making process.

Choose the right product for your patient’s compression needs
Product type
Highlighted features
2-layer compression bandage system: AccuWrap™ typically applied by the clinician
Best for: Management of venous leg ulcers
Wear time*: Up to 7 days
  • Accuracy indicator
  • Fits under clothes and shoes
  • Absorbent padding bandage layer conforms to bony prominences
  • Easy and consistent application by clinician
  • Stocking included
  • Three sizes
Velcro-adjustable compression garment: COMPRECARES
Best for: Management of chronic venous insufficiency, edema, venous stasis ulcers, lymphedema
Wear time*: Up to 7 days
  • Customized compression with ACCUTAB
  • Easily check on wounds
  • Easy for patients to apply and remove
  • Designed to wick away moisture
  • Liner is washable
3-layer and 4-layer compression system: ThreeFlex, FourFlex
Best for: 3-layer for management of lighter compression and mixed etiology; 4-layer for management of chronic venous insufficiency
Wear time*: Up to 7 days
  • Inexpensive upfront cost
  • FourFlex available in extra-large size
  • FourFlex layers provide cushioning, absorbancy, conformed wrapping and stability for the system to stay in place
Compression stocking
Best for: Improving circulation and management of swelling
Wear time*: During waking hours
  • Can be stretched to fit most leg shapes
  • Gradient pressure for more patient comfort
  • Nylon and Spandex blend offers strength and stretch
Unna boot
Best for: Helps manage venous leg ulcers
Wear time*: Up to 7 days
  • Inexpensive upfront cost
  • Disposable, inelastic bandage
  • Soothes skin with impregnated zinc oxide (with or without calamine)
  • Semi-rigid support
  • Inner plastic core eases application
  • Unna-Z Stretch offers greater elasticity for easier application and conformability

* Wear time will often depend on the amount of drainage from the wound. See packaging for more information.

Patient compliance is key

Proper compression therapy starts in a clinical setting, but continues at home, allowing patients to take more control of their symptoms. The challenge is that compression garments may be uncomfortable to wear. They can also be difficult for patients to put on and take off themselves, especially for elderly patients, which may cause them to give up completely. Be sure to help your patients understand what their role is in helping manage their venous disease.

How do you help improve patient compliance?

Newer compression garments, such as AccuWrap, are best applied by the clinician. This 2-layer wrap helps reduce the edema of the leg. When AccuWrap is removed, your patient may be able to continue to apply compression with COMPRECARES to help maintain the leg size until the wound is closed.

Compression therapy products that include educational packaging can also help patients comply with treatment.

Key takeaway

It’s important to educate yourself and your patients about how to manage venous stasis disease. Choosing the right compression therapy is a crucial part of this process. Share this chart with your staff so they can help patients find the right compression therapy for their symptoms. Evaluate pairing compression with a system of products to achieve better results.

Improve outcomes with a system of products

Remember that you can improve outcomes for patients with venous stasis by using a system of products: compression therapy combined with gentle, moisturizing skin care and advanced wound care. This holistic strategy can help control venous stasis symptoms and improve quality of life