Active Compression Therapy
ArjoHuntleigh has developed a clinical education forum (www.act-club.info) dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding of Active Compression Therapy (otherwise known as Intermittent Pneumatic Compression or IPC) and its use in DVT prevention, wound healing and the management of lymphoedema.
Active Compression Therapy (ACT), is a non-invasive mechanical method of DVT prevention which works by augmenting venous blood flow in the legs while simultaneously stimulating endogenous fibrinolytic activity. It consists of foot, calf or thigh - length garments which are pneumatically inflated by a pump for approximately twelve seconds every minute. ACT systems are designed for the prevention of DVT and mimic the process of walking by squeezing the calf muscle or compressing the plantar plexus of the foot and force blood back to the heart. This active compression on the limb stops blood from pooling in the lower limbs and this continual movement of blood through the veins help prevent the formation of DVT.
Active Compression Therapy (ACT) is a non-invasive mechanical therapy often used to aid wound healing and reduce oedema. It is effective when used alone or as an adjunct to compression bandaging for the treatment of venous leg ulceration where it has demonstrated improved ulcer healing rates (Kumar et al 2002, Stacey et al 2002). Active Compression Therapy consists of leg or arm garments which are pneumatically inflated by a pump over a predetermined cycle time.
The use of Active Compression Therapy (ACT) for patients with lymphoedema is not new. However, advances in medical device technology have enabled lymphoedema specific therapy modes to be developed which now mimic some of the manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) techniques used by therapists to treat these patients. Such developments are likely to result in an increased uptake for this treatment modality among healthcare professionals which can only result in better patient outcomes in the long term.