Are TED and Medical Compression Stockings interchangeable?

20 April 2020

Hello Everyone! We are now into the fourth week of lockdown. Our PM will be making an announcement later today at 4 pm. In the event of a downgrade to level three, I am afraid my practice is likely to remain close for a further two to four months. My work is my passion and I do miss attending to all my clients!

Nevertheless, I would like to share with you a common question that is frequently asked by many of my clients. It arises whenever I recommend medical compression stockings for the management of their conditions.

They have a pair of white coloured stockings (TED) at home in the drawers from when they last had a surgical procedure. Can they use those instead? Yes, some of my clients are already laughing in the background! Under normal circumstances, the answer is no. Although both are compression stockings, let me explain the differences and purposes for their usage.

TED stands for Thrombo – Embolic Deterrent. That means preventing blood clots from occurring. People who have had surgical procedures are on bed-rest because they are unable to walk. Consequently, blood pools at their legs and they are at risk for blood clots, deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and embolism which is dangerous. TED stockings are worn for those reasons. The compression grade is mild for TED measuring at 8 mmHg – 18 mmHg. It is fit for purpose for three weeks and needs to be replaced for a new pair after that period.

Medical Compression Stockings, on the other hand, have a pressure gradient and enhances blood/fluid circulation. It is the highest distally at the ankles and the lowest proximally, further up the limb.

Mild compression measures at 8 mmHg – 18 mmHg. It helps with energising tired aching legs with spider veins and minimal swelling. Moderate compression measures at 15 mmHg – 20 mmHg. They are used during pregnancy, travels/flights, mild swelling/varicose vein and for people who sit or stand at their feet for long hours.

Firm compression measures at 20 mmHg – 30 mmHg. They suit people who can walk with pain. Their legs are moderately swollen with a moderate varicose vein, Chronic Vein Insufficiency (CVI)) and Congestive Heart Failure (CHF). Blood and fluid pools at their ankles. Extra-firm compression measures at 30 mmHg – 40 mmHg. They are best suited for severe swelling, oedema, post sclerotherapy, a venous ulcer, Lymphedema and Lipedema,

Now that you have a better understanding of uniform/pressure gradient compression and their functions, next question?

You may be interested in further reading:

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/boosting-circulation-with-compression-stockings

#pressure gradient #compression stockings #TED #circulation #chronic venous insufficiency

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