Is there a Difference between Anti-Embolism Stockings and Other Compression Stockings?

In doing our research we noticed that there may be some confusion or misconceptions out there in properly distinguishing graduated compression stockings and anti embolism stockings.

We felt it may be helpful to shed some light on the subject and briefly explain and discuss the fundamental differences and purpose of one type of stockings versus the other.


What are Anti-Embolism Stockings and what is their Purpose?

Anti-embolism stockings or hose are also known as TED stockings or hose. To help distinguish anti-embolism stockings from other compression stockings they are traditionally only manufactured as white stockings.

Another characteristic of T.E.D. stockings is that they are designed with a convenient “inspection hole” in the toe area or at the bottom of the foot for easy monitoring of the patient’s circulation and vital signs.

TED stockings are intended for bed patients (the popular phrase for this is “TEDs are for beds”). In many instances TEDs would not provide enough graduated compression for people who are standing, walking or sitting most of the day.  For these individuals often higher compression levels of 20-30 mmHg or higher may be needed depending on the type and severity of venous problems to be addressed.

T.E.D.™ is a trademark of Kendall brand, which is part of company Covidien AG

Anti-embolism stockings are designed for use with patients that cannot get out of bed (in medical terms also known as non-ambulatory patients).  The purpose of these stockings is to help prevent pooling of blood in the leg veins in situations that can have an increased risk (e.g. after surgery or during childbirth) for the formation of blood clots in the veins also known as venous thrombosis or thromboembolism.

Blood clots can be very dangerous.  If they break loose inside a vein they can travel to the heart and lungs where they can get lodged and cause a pulmonary embolism (PE), which can cause significant damage or be fatal in a worst case scenario.

TED stockings are usually not intended for long-term use on a patient.   Anti-embolism stockings feature graduated compression that is generally in the range of 8-15 mmHg. Graduated compression means that the applied compression is the highest in the ankle area and gradually lessens going further up the leg.

Some of the issues that have been voiced about anti-embolism stockings are that they can be difficult to put on for individuals with arthritis or reduced strength in the hands.  With bed ridden individuals this is usually not a problem because medical staff or other care givers are available to help with the donning and doffing of the TED stockings.

Some wearers claim that the stockings don’t stay up very well in spite of the hold up band and that they have to be adjusted throughout the day.  Like with any type of compression stocking proper measuring of the patient’s legs is very important to ensure a good fit of the anti-embolism stockings and to prevent any pinching or rolling of the stocking that could cause a tourniquet effect, which would be counterproductive for the patient.


What are Regular Graduated Compression Stockings and what is their Purpose?

Unlike anti-embolism stockings graduated compression stockings are intended for people that are able to walk around (in medical terms described as being ambulatory).

This could be the case with patients that have been released from the hospital or any other long term care facility.

If they need to continue wearing graduated compression hosiery their physician should advise them which type of compression stocking (knee-high, thigh-high or pantyhose style) would be best suited for them depending on their condition.  In addition, the physician can also determine which compression level they should be wearing for the best results and the most comfort.

Depending on a patient’s situation compression and support hosiery is available for preventative care and as a long term treatment option for a wide range of conditions.  Today’s compression stockings and full length compression pantyhose are available in a wide range of fashionable styles and color variations across all pressure classifications.

You can find out much more about graduated compression hosiery by browsing the categories of our site or you can get started by simply following the links below to some of our popular blog posts about these topics…

Problems with Graduated Compression Stockings – The Importance of correct Measurements and Sizing

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If you liked this post please let us know by clicking the Facebook like button or the G+1 button below. We also appreciate any comments and personal experiences you have to contribute.


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