PLoS ONE | 2019
The long-term arterial assist intermittent pneumatic compression generating venous flow obstruction is responsible for improvement of arterial flow in ischemic legs
Background There is a large group of patients with ischemia of lower limbs not suitable for surgical reconstruction of arteries treated with the help of external assist by intermittent pneumatic compression devices (IPC). Until recently the generally accepted notion was that by compressing tissues below the knee, veins become emptied, venous pressure drops to zero and the increased arterial-venous pressure gradient enables greater arterial flow. We used a pump that, in contradiction to the “empty veins” devices, limited the limb venous outflow by venous obstructions and in a long period therapy expanded the perfusion vessels and brought about persistent reactive hyperemia. Aim To check the toe and calf arterial inflow measured by venous stasis plethysmography and capillary flow velocity during arterial assist IPC in a long-term therapy of ischemic legs. Material and methods Eighteen patients (12M, 6F) age 62 to 75 with leg peripheral arterial disease (PAD, Fontaine stage II) were studied. Pneumatic device with two 10cm wide cuffs (foot, calf) (Bio Compression Systems, Moonachie, NJ, USA) inflated to 120 mmHg for 5–6 sec to obstruct the venous flow, deflation time 16 sec, applied for 45–60 min daily for a period of 2 years. Results At pump inflation increase in toe arterial pressure, volume, capillary blood flow velocity and one-minute arterial inflow test was observed. Increased toe volume appeared concomitantly with the inflated chamber venous obstruction. Resting pressure in the great saphenous vein increased. The two years therapy showed persistence of the resting limb increased toe capillary flow. Intermittent claudication distance increased by 20–120%. After two years arterial assist TBI increased from 0.2 to 0.6 (range 0.3 to 0.8) (p<0.05 vs pre-therapy). The toe arterial inflow dominated over that in calf skin and muscles, nevertheless, there was prolongation of the claudication distance presumably due to dilatation of exchange vessels also in muscles. Conclusions Our arterial assist IPC brought about increase in the toe capillary flow, long lasting dilatation of toe capillaries and extension of painless walking distance. The crucial factor of rhythmic repeated venous outflow obstructions should be taken into account in designing effective assist devices.