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How can I benefit from surgical compression stockings after a stroke?

After a stroke, external compression with surgical compression stockings can help control swelling in the lower extremities from loss of neurologic input to the vessels in that part of the body. The blood vessels have a nerve supply that controls vascular dilation. Without that nerve input those vessels often dilate, causing swelling.
Audrey K. Chun, MD
Geriatric Medicine
Treating hospitalized patients who have suffered a new immobilizing stroke with thigh-length surgical stockings rather than knee-high socks can reduce life threatening blood clots, according to a study published online in the "Annals of Internal Medicine." The study included 3,000 patients, average age 75. Researchers found that knee-high stockings, which are similar to flight socks, do little in stroke patients to prevent deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a life-threatening form of blood clot that can travel up into the heart and lungs. Stroke patients fitted with below-the-knee stockings were 30% more likely to develop DVT than patients fitted with thigh-length stockings. This could be because the most serious type of blood clot tends to occur in the thigh.

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