Ann Lee Wood


To provide information of the effect of knee length compression stockings and foot exercise on venous blood velocity, an exploratory pilot study was conducted. An additional purpose of the investigation was to evaluate the noninvasive doppler ultrasonic flowmeter as a data collecting tool.

Fourteen volunteer female subjects, ages 40 to 80, met the designated criteria and were tested. During the half-hour baseline period and throughout the study at specified intervals, one-minute venous velocity tracings were recorded at the femoral vein with the doppler flow-meter. The baseline period was followed by two minutes of maximum dorsiflexion and plantar flexion of the right foot. Thirty minutes later compression stockings were applied for half an hour, then removed for thirty minutes. The external pressure exerted by the stockings was measured by a specially designed balloon and mercury manometer prior to starting the baseline recordings.

Only five of the population sample were included in the description of results. The major disqualifying reason was poor venous velocity readings because of arterial interference. However, external pressure values of the stockings and changes in the calf circumference were tabulated on the entire group of fourteen subjects.

Two minutes of exercise caused an immediate increase in venous velocity in all five subjects but at the end of thirty minutes, all the values but one were equal with baseline or below. The velocity wave changed configuration during dorsiflexion and plantar flexion becoming narrower and of greater amplitude than during baseline. The wave configuration was in phase with the foot movement rather than with the respiratory cycle as during baseline. A significant decrease in the mean measurement of calf circumference occurred between the end of the baseline period and immediately following two minutes of exercise.

After wearing compression stockings thirty minutes, three of the five subjects showed an increase in venous velocity, one a decrease, and one no change when compared to baseline values. The form of the femoral venous velocity wave, while the stockings were in place, remained almost identical in appearance compared to those during baseline with no decrease in the effect of respiration on the pulse wave nor increase of the cardiac affect.

Though the manufacturers indicate their stockings have a pressure gradient, very few of the stockings had that effect when on the subject's legs. The pressure was two to four millimeters of mercury higher than the top of the stocking in the majority of cases. There was a significant decrease in the calf circumference of all the subjects when the stockings were in place.

Removal of the stockings did not result in an immediate decrease in velocity. At the end of thirty minutes, three subject's velocity had decreased and two increased in comparison to the values at the end of the stocking application period. The mean calf circumference after thirty minutes without the stockings was significantly greater than when the stockings were on.

Factors which may have contributed to these results and how they varied from other investigative studies were discussed. Implications for nursing practice and recommendations for further study were made based on the results of this research.

LLU Discipline





Graduate School

First Advisor

Dorothy M. Martin

Second Advisor

L. Lucile Lewis

Third Advisor

Elizabeth A. Rogers

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Blood Flow Velocity; Venous Pressure



Page Count

vi; 69

Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Collection Website


Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives

Included in

Nursing Commons