Electrical Foot Stimulation: A Potential New Method of Deep Venous Thrombosis Prophylaxis Journal Articles uri icon

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  • The purpose of this study was to compare venous blood flow velocity of intermittent pneumatic compression to electrical stimulation of the foot. A prospective randomized controlled study of 40 healthy volunteers was conducted. Subjects were seated for 4 hours during which they received electrical stimulation of the sole of the foot or knee-high intermittent pneumatic compression. Popliteal and femoral venous blood flow velocities were measured via Doppler ultrasonography. Blood flow velocity in the nonstimulated or noncompressed lower extremity served as a simultaneous control. For both the femoral and popliteal veins, the electrical foot stimulation group exhibited a greater increase in blood flow velocity than the intermittent pneumatic compression group. Electrical foot stimulation was noninferior relative to standard intermittent pneumatic compression. Specifically, this result of a greater increase in blood flow velocity is achieved at time = 120 minutes for the femoral vein ( t = 2.70; p = .005) and time = 120 ( t = 2.75; p = .004) and 240 ( t = 2.27; p = .014) minutes for the popliteal vein. Short-term electrical foot stimulation is at least as effective as knee-high intermittent pneumatic compression in increasing popliteal and femoral blood flow velocity. Electrical foot stimulation has the potential to be an effective method of deep venous thrombosis prophylaxis.


  • Czyrny, James J
  • Kaplan, Robert E
  • Wilding, Gregory E
  • Purdy, Christopher H
  • Hirsh, Jack

publication date

  • February 1, 2010

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