• The postphlebitic syndrome is a common affliction with limited therapeutic options. Patients who fail to respond to treatment with graded elastic compression stockings often develop a chronic pain syndrome manifested by intractable pain and swelling. Because lymphedema, a condition also associated with leg pain and swelling, has been successfully treated by intermittent compressive therapy with an extremity pump, we conducted a pilot study of compressive therapy in patients with severe postphlebitic syndrome. All five patients studied had dramatic improvement in symptoms and functional status without side effects. Although a large randomized trial is needed to properly evaluate compressive therapy, it appears to be very effective in selected patients.
(Arch Intern Med. 1989;149:1651-1652)