The cardiologists and cardiovascular surgeons at Main Line Health work together to improve the detection and prevention of heart disease with the latest treatment options.
What is compression therapy?
Your body has two main types of blood vessels: arteries and veins. Arteries carry oxygen-rich blood from your heart to your body. Veins carry blood back to your heart from your body after the oxygen has been delivered.
Your veins have many tiny valves that help push blood back to your heart, but sometimes these valves can weaken over time and stop working as well as they should. Blood may pool in your veins because the valves aren't pumping it back to the heart. This can cause swelling, blood clots and other problems, especially in your legs.
What to expect from compression therapy
Compression therapy squeezes your legs using special stockings, wraps or boot-like devices. This pressure keeps the blood from pooling, and it can make it easier for weakened valves in the veins to move blood where it needs to go.
Compression therapy can relieve swelling and other symptoms. It can also help prevent blood clots from forming, dislodging and traveling to another part of the body. Your doctor may recommend compression therapy if you have or are at risk for:
- Pulmonary embolism – A blood clot that goes to the lungs
- Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) – A blood clot in the legs
- Lymphedema – Swelling in your arms or legs
- Varicose veins – Swollen, painful veins in your legs or feet
If you have problems with the veins in your legs, talk to your doctor to see if compression therapy might be a good treatment for you.