In doing our research we noticed that there may be some confusion or misconceptions out there in distinguishing graduated compression stockings from anti-embolism stockings.
We felt it may be helpful to shed some light on the subject and briefly discuss the fundamental differences and purpose of one type of stockings versus the other.
What are Anti-Embolism Stockings?
Anti-embolism stockings are also known as TED stockings. To help distinguish anti-embolism stockings from other compression stockings they are traditionally only manufactured as white stockings on purpose.
Another characteristic of T.E.D. anti-embolism 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.
What Is The Purpose Of Anti-Embolism Stockings?
TED stockings are intended as a preventative measure for bed patients (the popular phrase for this is “TEDs are for beds”). These anti-embolism stockings, as the name indicates, are designed to prevent venous thromboembolism (VTE). The most common type of this dangerous and potentially fatal condition is a blood clot in one of the deeper veins, also referred to as deep vein thrombosis or DVT.
In many instances, anti embolism stockings would not provide enough graduated compression for people who are standing, walking or sitting most of the day. For these individuals other compression stockings with compression levels of 20-30 mmHg or even higher may be needed to treat the type and severity of the condition that affects the blood circulation in the legs.
T.E.D.™ is a trademark of Kendall brand, which is part of company Covidien AG
When To Wear Anti-Embolism Stockings?
Anti-embolism stockings are designed for use with patients that are immobile or spend much of their time sitting in a chair or laying in bed (in medical terms also known as non-ambulatory patients) for several days.
Your doctor or surgeon in charge of your care will let you know when you should wear your anti-embolism stockings (days and/or nights) and how long you should wear them (e.g. after an operation).
The purpose of these stockings is to help prevent pooling of blood in the legs and reduce the chance of blood clots forming in a leg vein. The formation of blood clots in the veins is also known as venous thrombosis, DVT or thromboembolism.
The risk for this is significantly increased during a hospital stay for example after a longer surgery (e.g. over an hour duration) or in cases of pelvic or leg surgeries.
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 can even 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.
One issue that has been voiced about anti embolism stockings is 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. As 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.
A Word Of Caution! Like any type of compression stocking, anti-embolism stockings are not suitable for all individuals. For example if you have peripheral artery disease (PAD) they are not recommended because the blood supply to the legs is compromised.
What Are Regular Graduated Compression Stockings?
Unlike anti-embolism stockings graduated compression stockings are intended for people who are able to get up and 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.
What Is The Purpose Of Compression Stockings?
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 vast variety of fashionable styles and colors and even design variations across all pressure classifications.
You can find out great deal of information about graduated compression hosiery and its benefits by browsing the categories and blog posts on our website. You can get started by simply following the links below or in the right hand column, which will lead you to some of our most popular blog posts about these topics…
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