What are IPC Devices for DVT Prevention

What are IPC Devices for DVT Prevention?

Intermittent Pneumatic Compression Devices, otherwise known as IPC devices, are the latest generation of products designed to assist in preventing deep vein thrombosis or DVT.

Blood clots may form in any individual from a variety of causes, such as:

  • traumatic injury
  • surgical procedures
  • dehydration
  • immobility especially following surgery or a chronic illness which places individuals in hospital beds or situations with very limited mobility.

What are IPC devices and how do they work?

Most deep vein thrombosis or blood clots appear deep in the blood vessels of lower extremities. Some clots break off and send pieces upward through vessels that serve the lungs, heart, or brain. The clots often lodge in curves or bends of blood vessels leading into these organs.

Intermittent Pneumatic Devices work by mimicking the movement of blood in blood vessels. These devices have been shown to decrease the likelihood of DVTs in the lower extremities.

IPC devices use cuffs placed around the lower legs that alternately fill with air, squeezing the muscles in the calf area. They then release the air, causing the cuff to deflate. This action is repeated as long as the cuffs are in place. Mimicking the natural flow of blood in the lower legs assists in pumping the blood back up to the main arteries and prevents the slowing of blood and resulting pooling of blood in the calves and thighs.

The cuffs also improve the function of valves in the legs that keep blood moving back to the heart. In some scenarios, lack of exercise, mobility, and age weaken these valves and prevents them from closing properly, which results in a ‘backwash’ of blood, contributing to the pooling of blood vessels in the calf.

While most surgical patients are automatically placed with ICP devices after surgical procedures, some patients are fitted with these devices upon admission, even when not undergoing surgical procedures. Some risk factors in addition to those listed above include:

  • Advanced age, those over 65 years
  • Post-stroke patients
  • Bed-bound pregnant women or have other mobility risks
  • Those who have a propensity to bleed more easily, such as those already using blood thinners

As with any medical treatment plan or procedure, care must be taken to ensure skin integrity, such as checking the skin under the ICP devices during bathing or at least once a day. Heavy sweating or other factors that may impair skin conditions must be considered.

Alert your medical care provider if you have any questions or concerns about the use of ICP devices to ensure that you and your medical team understand the risks and benefits of these devices.

Related Posts

pinched nerve or blood clot
Education

A Closer Look: Is It a Blood Clot or a Pinched Nerve?

When experiencing pain, numbness, or tingling in your extremities, it can be a challenge to discern whether the discomfort originates from a blood clot or a pinched nerve. Understanding the symptoms and causes of each condition can help you make informed decisions about your health and potential treatment options. Understanding a Blood Clot A blood

Read More »
pulled muscle or blood clot
Education

The Critical Comparison: Blood Clot Versus Pulled Muscle

Understanding the difference between a blood clot and a pulled muscle can be the difference between prompt, successful treatment and a potentially dangerous delay. These two health issues share some similar symptoms, making it crucial to know how to differentiate between them. The Fundamentals of Blood Clots and Pulled Muscles When it comes to the

Read More »
Sciatica
Education

Identifying the Contrast: Is it Sciatica or a Blood Clot?

Is it a constant throbbing pain in your leg? Is it a blood clot, or could it be sciatica? These two conditions, although entirely different, can often be mistaken for one another due to similar symptoms. In this blog post, we delve into each condition, their signs and symptoms, and how to differentiate between the

Read More »
Aneurysm
Education

Decoding Health: What Separates a Blood Clot from an Aneurysm?

In the medical world, terms like “blood clot” and “aneurysm” can be quite common, but for most of us, they can be daunting and complex. Understanding these terms, their differences, and their implications is vital to taking control of our health. So, let’s dive in and decode the world of blood clots and aneurysms. Understanding

Read More »
Hormone Replacement Therapy HRT
Education

The Silent Threat: Blood Clots in Women Undergoing Hormone Replacement Therapy

As women approach menopause, many seek relief from the onslaught of uncomfortable symptoms through Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). However, few are aware of the potential silent threat that accompanies HRT – blood clots. Understanding this risk, its implications, and how to navigate it is key to making informed decisions about your health. Understanding Hormone Replacement

Read More »
Cellulitis
Education

Is it a Blood Clot or Cellulitis? Deciphering Your Symptoms

Baffled by swelling, redness, or warmth in your leg? You may be wondering if it’s a blood clot or cellulitis. Both conditions share some similar symptoms, but they’re quite different. In this blog post, we’ll guide you through what each condition is, their respective symptoms, and how to tell them apart. Remember, if you suspect

Read More »
Scroll to Top