Gradient Compression Stockings vs. Anti-Embolism Stockings (TED Hose): What’s the Difference?

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Gradient Compression Stockings vs. Anti-Embolism Stockings (TED Hose): What’s the Difference?

difference gradient compression stockings anti-embolism stockings

If you have issues with circulation, you may be familiar with compression therapy. There are many socks and stockings that offer compression therapy. You may hear the terms “compression stockings” and “anti-embolism stockings” used interchangeably, but there are some differences. Let’s discuss what the difference between gradient compression stockings and anti-embolism stockings and which stockings might be right for you.

Gradient Compression Stockings

Gradient compression stockings provide graduated compression, where the pressure is higher towards the ankle and decreases as the stocking goes up. Different compression levels—including 15-20 mmHg, 20-30 mmHg, 30-40 mmHg, and 40-50 mmHg—may be used to treat varicosities, swelling and edema, and lymphedema. Patients who use gradient compression stockings are ambulatory, meaning they can walk freely as opposed to being confined to the bed.

Anti-Embolism Stockings

Anti-embolism stockings are used for different reasons than gradient compression stockings. Specifically, they help reduce the risk of developing a serious blood clot called deep vein thrombosis (DVT) during hospitalization. A person who is a good candidate for anti-embolism stockings is bedridden and cannot walk. For this reason, you may hear anti-embolism stockings referred to as Thrombo-Embolic Deterrent Hose or TED hose.

Unlike gradient compression stockings, an anti-embolism compression stocking provides a uniform compression of 18 mmHg (millimeters of mercury – the same type of measurement used when taking blood pressure) throughout the length of the sock, typically to the knee or to the thigh. Since anti-embolism patients are typically bedridden or laying down, a gradient compression is not needed. Standard compression will still allow the heart’s valves to operate efficiently and keep the blood flowing as long as the patient’s legs are at the same height as the heart.

Where to Find Gradient Compression Stockings or Anti-Embolism Stockings

The Compounding Center carries a variety of compression hosiery, including Jobst, Sigvaris, Medi and TruForm.  Most patients are ambulatory and would need gradient compression, but those who are confined to a bed may need anti-embolism stockings.  The Compounding Center carries this version of compression in Jobst; the #1 physician-recommended compression therapy sock.

Other socks, such as TED hose can be ordered for each individual patient. The sooner you get them, the faster your recovery. TED hose, Jobst, Sigvaris, and other stocking brands are also available on our online store.

Call The Compounding Center to discuss your compression therapy options.