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Sequential Compression Device

Everything you need to know about sequential compression devices

by ViQure  May 7, 2022

What is a sequential compression device?

A sequential compression device is also called an intermittent pneumatic compression device. Usually, it contains a pump and inflatable sleeves which you can choose according to different purposes and body parts. After you start the pump, the sleeve inflates and deflates automatically, then it delivers sequential, gradient pressure to the legs. It is usually used for DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) or PE (pulmonary Embolism) prevention. 

But please note that a leg massage device is far away from a sequential compression device for DVT/PE. A good sequential compression device should have vascular refill detection technology, deliver sequential, gradient, stable and customized pressure.

sequential compression device

What's the difference between a sequential compression device and a leg massager?

A leg massager often offers a sequence or circulation mode, it is a universal massage pattern that is not customized for each individual. Usually, a leg massager is used to improve circulation and reduce muscle pain and stiffness. A sequential compression device for DVT/PE prevention features vein blood backflow detection technology, it customizes treatment frequency and circle for each individual. 

A sequential compression device for DVT/PE prevention features vein blood backflow detection technology, it customizes treament frequency and circle for each individual.

A sequential compression device for DVT/PE works with muti-chamber air sacs which can inflate and deflate simultaneously to ensure high efficiency. 

A sequential compression device with above features can accelerate blood velocity and volume, eliminate blood stagnation, inhibit clotting factor adhesion, etc., thus reducing the risk of thrombosis.

When do you need a sequential compression device?

The veins in our legs carry blood back to our heart, and the venous reflux needs to overcome gravity. The veins have one-way valves that keep blood from flowing backward. Our leg muscles contract like pumps and provide great power for blood backflow. They ensure the smooth return of venous blood. 

When a person is immobile or sedentary for a long time, the venous blood backflow speed and blood status will change. And the probability of getting DVT-deep vein thrombosis (dislodging and returning with blood flow to the lungs to form a fatal pulmonary embolism) increases greatly. In addition, valve damage due to surgery, especially major pelvic, abdominal and orthopedic surgery, is also a high-risk factor for DVT. 

Older people, smokers, cancer or heart disease patients, obese people, weakness of lower extremities, heart failure, lower extremity injuries, and people who have suffered from DVT are all at high risk for DVT.

What is the treatment principle of a sequential compression device ?

The treatment principle of a sequential compression device (also called an intermittent pneumatic compression device) is to simulate the physiological activities of human muscles. It usually contains a pump and inflatable air sacs for different purposes. 

The multi-chamber air sacs inflate and deflate rhythmically, applying circulatory pressure on the limb tissues. Thus, to help promote venous blood backflow, strengthen arterial perfusion, improve blood circulation and lymphatic circulation, prevent the aggregation of coagulation factors and adhesion to the intima, increase the activity of the fibrinolytic system, and prevent venous thrombosis and eliminate DVT. Prevent venous thrombosis and eliminate limb edema.

gradient pressure

Why can a sequential compression device prevent DVT or PE? 

The principle of preventing deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary thromboembolism is: 

  • accelerating blood flow speed, eliminating blood stagnation; 
  • the accelerated blood is flushed behind the venous valve, preventing the formation of deep vein thrombosis; 
  • the accelerated blood flow stimulates vascular endothelial cells to lubricate the factors of the vascular wall, inhibiting the effect of clotting factor adhesion.
gif for SCD treatment mode
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How to choose the right sleeves?

If you are preventing deep vein thrombosis and you do not have leg abnormalities, such as erysipelas, gangrene, recent skin transplantation. A foot cuff and thigh-length sleeve is recommended. In general, more than 90% of patients with PTE have blood clots originating from the deep veins of the lower extremities.

thigh-length sleeve