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Keywords

deep vein thrombosis, graduated compression stockings, hospital-acquired pressure injury, postoperative care, pressure injury

 

Authors

  1. Siby, Tessy MSN, RN, CMSRN, CNL
  2. Smith, Uniqua PhD, MBA, RN, NE-BC
  3. Shajimon, Alice MSN, RN, OCN, CNL

ABSTRACT

Purpose: The purpose of this evidence-based practice project was to reduce the incidence of pressure injuries (PIs) from the use of graduated compression stockings in patients on a gastrointestinal (GI) sarcoma surgery unit. Before this project, the standard of care for preventing deep vein thrombosis (DVT) included the use of graduated compression stockings, anticoagulation therapy, and intermittent pneumatic compression devices. We sought to examine the impact on PI and DVT risk of using only anticoagulation therapy and intermittent pneumatic compression devices.

 

Methods: The pilot phase of the project began in June 2017 when nurses on the GI sarcoma surgery unit initiated a practice change in which graduated compression stockings were removed during the 7 AM shift change and put back on the patient before bedtime. Data on the incidence of DVTs and PIs were already being collected in our institution's electronic health record and safety intelligence reporting system. The project team monitored the incidence of PIs and DVTs throughout the project. After the pilot project concluded in August 2017, the GI sarcoma surgery unit staff continued the practice of taking off graduated compression stockings during the day, until on June 2018 the use of graduated compression stockings was formally discontinued for all surgical patients, both during the day and night.

 

Results: Data collected during the pilot phase revealed that no PIs or DVTs occurred among the 497 study patients on the GI sarcoma surgery unit. From June to October 2017, the unit cared for a total of 856 patients and PI and DVT rates remained at zero. From the start of the pilot project in June 2017 to October 2018 (five months after the discontinuation of graduated compression stockings on all surgical units) the unit cared for 3,141 patients-an average of 174 patients per month-and had a zero rate of PIs and DVTs.

 

Conclusions: We found that the use of graduated compression stockings confers more risks than benefits for patients. Our findings prompted the discontinuation of graduated compression stockings use in postoperative patients throughout our institution. In the 17 months after the pilot project was initiated, no PIs occurred among patients in the GI sarcoma surgery unit, which also maintained a zero rate of DVTs.