Thigh-length versus knee-length compression stockings for deep vein thrombosis prophylaxis in the inpatient setting

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Deep vein thrombosis may be a complication of extended length hospital stays. Immobilized patients, such as patients in the postoperative period, are at particularly high risk of developing a deep vein thrombosis, which can be associated with high levels of morbidity and mortality. Due to this, prevention of deep vein thrombosis is of great importance in the inpatient setting. Compression stockings have proven to play an important role in prophylaxis and may be used in their knee-length or thigh-length variety. Although randomized trials have studied the efficacy of both varieties in prevention of deep vein thrombosis, selection is often made without regard to evidence. This meta-analysis pools the findings of current studies comparing knee-length and thigh-length compression stockings for deep vein thrombosis prophylaxis. A fixed effects model was used for this study with a two-sided α-error less than 0.05 considered to be statistically significant. When both varieties of compression stockings are compared, thigh-length stockings offer a risk reduction in deep vein thrombosis development when compared with knee-length (odds ratio 1.197, confidence interval 0.983–1.458). This, however, is an insignificant finding. This analysis concludes that current data does not favor either thigh-length or knee-length compression stockings when it comes to prophylaxis of deep vein thrombosis.

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