Automatic pneumatic compression devices

Automatic pneumatic compression devices dynamically exert external compressive pressure on the affected limb via pressure chambers inflatable by machine. This practically massages out the edema by the repeated application of external pressure. These devices only make sense if mobilizable edema fluid is also present (lymphedema or phlebedema). Soft tissue hyperplasia, which can also look clinically like lymphedema, cannot be treated with a compression device. If necessary, this must be verified more precisely by imaging.

There are many different technical models with different variations in inflation/deflation types, lengths and pressures. This can be done with one or more chambers, with or without a pressure gradient, the latter usually decreasing from distal to proximal.

The great advantage of automatic compression devices, which are usually effective, easy to use and often perceived as pleasant, is that they can be used at home by the patient (or the patient’s relatives) without the need for an external specialist therapist, who is only required for instruction and regular checks.

A typical effective automatic compression device is multi-chamber, with pressure gradients from distal to proximal and is used for 2 hours daily.