AIM: To explore patient preference and adherence to thigh and knee length graduated compression stockings for the prevention of deep vein thrombosis in surgical patients.
BACKGROUND: Hospitalised patients are at risk of developing deep vein thrombosis. Mechanical methods of prophylaxis include compression stockings, available as knee or thigh length. Patient adherence to correct stocking use is of critical importance to their effectiveness.
DESIGN: Systematic review of quantitative evidence.
DATA SOURCES: Eleven databases were searched from inception to 2013 for systematic reviews of compression stockings. Reviews were screened for relevant primary studies and update searches of eight electronic sources were undertaken (2010-2014).
REVIEW METHODS: Randomised controlled trials and observational studies of surgical patients using compression stockings were quality assessed and data were extracted on patient adherence and preference.
A narrative summary is presented.
RESULTS: Nine randomised controlled trials and seven observational studies were included in the systematic review. There was substantial variation between studies in terms of patient characteristics, interventions and methods of outcome assessment.
CONCLUSION: Patient adherence was generally higher with knee length than thigh length stockings. However, the studies reflect patient adherence in a hospital setting only, where patients are observed by healthcare professionals; it is likely that adherence reduces once patients have been discharged from hospital. Patients preferred knee length stockings over thigh length stockings. In many clinical settings any difference in efficacy between thigh length and knee length stockings may be rendered irrelevant by patient preference for and likely better adherence to knee length stockings. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.