Compression therapy has been demonstrated to be an effective therapy for increasing the likelihood that a patient with venous ulcers will heal after 12 to 24 weeks. Since many venous ulcer patients have recurrent ulcers even after they have successfully healed, a pressing question remains as to whether continued compression after wound healing could reduce the likelihood of recurrent venous ulcer formation.
A Cochrane collaborative review has evaluated compression as a treatment for preventing the recurrence of venous ulcers.43 This systematic review did not find any studies directly comparing the incidence of recurrent ulcers in patients who did and did not use compression. Two studies were included in the systematic review: one study compared medium- and highcompression stockings, and did not find a significant difference between recurrence rates in these two groups. The other study compared two different types of medium-compression stockings and did not find any significant differences between the two groups. The studies did in fact examine the differences in recurrence rates between patients who were and were not compliant with compression stockings, but this did demonstrate that patients who were non-compliant with compression were more likely to have recurrent ulcerations.43
Another study conducted after this systematic review also addressed this issue, and found that compression stockings reduced the risk of recurrence of venous ulceration.3,44 This study of 153 people found that wearing compression stockings significantly reduced the risk of recurrence of venous ulcers at 6 months, with a relative risk reduction of 54% (CI 24-72%).
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