Study Publicizes New Measure to Prevent Blood Clots -- MEDICA - World Forum for Medicine

Study Publicizes New Measure to Prevent Blood Clots

Photo: Socks

The CLOTS trial included more than
3,000 stroke patients; © panther- Pretzsch

This study questions whether the widespread use of short stockings is appropriate given the greater risk of clots associated with their use. Use of short stockings may result in many more patients suffering potentially life-threatening clots.

Researchers found that knee-high stockings, which are similar to flight socks, do little in stroke patients to prevent deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a life threatening form of blood clot that can travel up into the heart and lungs.

The CLOTS trial included more than 3,000 stroke patients from 112 hospitals in nine countries. It is by far the biggest study to test stockings.

Clinicians mostly use short stockings, which are cheaper and easier to fit than thigh-length stockings. In Scotland, for example, about three-quarters of stockings used by the NHS are short.

Stroke patients fitted with below-the-knee, stockings were 30 per cent more likely to develop deep vein thrombosis than patients fitted with thigh-length stockings. This could be because the most serious type of blood clots tend to be in the thigh, researchers suggest, David Clark said, "More than 150,000 people a year have a stroke in the UK and it is vital they receive the best possible treatment. This important research, which was seed funded by Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland , shows conclusively that short compression stockings do not benefit stroke patients. We can now focus our efforts and research funding on finding a treatment which will reduce the risk of clots. "

The team from Edinburgh is now testing another type of device which actively massages the legs to keep the blood moving which they hope will prevent CLOTS in stroke patients. The results from that trial are expected in about three years.; Source: University of Edinburgh