Combining short periods of leg compression with medications like heparin can be helpful in significantly decreasing a patient's risk of deep vein thrombosis, according to a team of Cochrane researchers.
The researchers analysed data from 11 trials involving 7,431 patients, and found that a combined approach to prevention reduced the risk of DVT from 4 in 100 to less than 1 in 100 when compared to anticoagulants alone. hen compared to compression alone, the risk of DVT was reduced from 4 in 100 to 1 in 100.
"Our results support guidelines that already recommend the combined use of medication and leg compression to prevent deep vein blood clots," says lead researcher, Stavros Kakkos of the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan.
The researchers, however, are still unsure whether the combined approach can decrease a patient's risk of a life-threatening pulmonary embolism, which is caused by a clot travelling to the lungs.
"If these clots get into the lungs they can be fatal. We urgently need more studies to find out whether combined preventative approaches are also useful in preventing pulmonary embolism," says Kakkos.