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Independent study supports use of compression hosiery kits

The results of The Venous Leg Ulcer Study – a randomised controlled trial – were published in The Lancet in March 2014, supporting the case that leg ulcer hosiery kits are both clinically effective for patients and cost-effective for the NHS.

Two-layer compression hosiery kits, which are used for venous leg ulcer management, have been found to:

  • Be of equal clinical effectiveness as four-layer compression bandages
  • Reduce the rate of ulcer reoccurrence by improving patient self-management
  • Enhance ankle and leg mobility (meaning patients are more likely to wear hosiery for ulcer maintenance)
  • Reduce the number and frequency of nurse consultations needed by ulcer patients
  • Improve quality of life for patients with venous leg ulcers
  • Contribute to overall cost savings compared with current practices

The conclusion of the VenUS IV study was that by using two-layer compression hosiery to treat venous leg ulcers patients had “more quality-adjusted life-years”, with fewer nurse consultations needed, compared with four-layer bandage treatment. In addition, compression hosiery is less reliant on applicator skill making it popular with patients and health care professionals.

Cost saving to the NHS

The VenUS IV study suggests that using two-layer compression hosiery within the community can save the NHS an average of £300 per patient for complete treatment of venous leg ulcers, compared to the current standard practice using four-layer compression bandages.

The study feels that “increased use of compression hosiery kits is likely to result in substantial saving for the NHS with improved quality of life for people with venous leg ulcers”.

An excerpt from the study

“In the hosiery group, 24 of 167 (14%) participants had ulcer recurrence compared with 41 of 176 (23%) in the bandage group. In the economic analysis, the average mean costs were about £300 lower per participant per year in the hosiery group than in the bandage group. This difference was mainly caused by more frequent nurse consultations in the bandage group than in the hosiery group.”

Ashby RL et al. (2014)
Two layer hosiery kits Four layer bandages
Median time to healing 99 days 98 days
Proportion of ulcers healing 70.9% 70.4%
Mean annual cost £1,493.90 £1,795.30
Ulcer recurrence rate 14% 23%

Findings from the Venous Leg Ulcer Study IV: a randomised controlled trial. NB The Activa Leg Ulcer Hosiery kits were used in this trial. 230 patients in the two-layer hosiery group. 224 patients in the four-layer bandage group.

Activa comments

Rachael Sykes, Senior Product Manager (Hosiery), comments: “The results of this trial provide further evidence, to what we’ve been hearing from working with nurses up and down the country – that Activa hosiery is ideally suited to treating patient leg ulcers, and in some situations, in place of compression bandages.”

Read the full Lancet article

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