Medical Pneumatic Compression

Written by Diane Sievert
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Medical pneumatic compression is a treatment used on those individuals whose limbs are extremely swollen. The compression is generally achieved using a pneumatic compression boot of some sort. What follows is a detailed guide for those who are considering medical pneumatic compression but want to know more about what exactly it entails.

A Guide to Medical Pneumatic Compression

First off, it may be helpful to know who will benefit from medical pneumatic compression. Most people who suffer from vascular abnormalities, like lymphedema or diabetes induced ulcers, should consider medical pneumatic compression. Do not, however, suppose that medical compression is right for everyone; if the swelling you experience could be linked to arterial ulcers you should seek other forms of treatment.

If you're wondering exactly how medical pneumatic compression works, you're not alone. At first glance, a pneumatic compression pump may look like some sort of futuristic torture device, but it's really quite harmless. The machine includes an inflatable garment (usually suitable for the foot, leg or arm) which is wired and attached to an electric pump.

What happens is this: the electric pump sends a certain amount of air into a particular area of the garment so that it will tighten around that portion of the patient's foot, leg or arm. Different amounts of air are sent to different areas of the garment in a rhythmic manner so that different amounts of pressure are placed on the affected area. The idea is that the pressure should mirror regular venous muscle contractions so that the fluid, which is now causing swelling, can be pushed along to its correct destination.

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