Graduated compression stockings are frequently used in the prevention of deep venous thrombosis and the treatment of venous insufficiency. Two patients are discussed who sustained ischaemic complications after application of graduated compression stockings. Review of the literature demonstrates that low cutaneous pressures significantly decrease local blood flow and that the amount of pressure exerted by graduated compression stockings increases significantly with increases in leg girth. Ischaemic complications associated with the use of these stockings also appears to be more common than previously thought and any policy of routine prescription to patients should be questioned.
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