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JOBST UK>Professionals>Focus On>Compression in Heart Failure

De-Mystifying The Use of Compression in Patients With Heart Failure

Many healthcare professionals have avoided applying compression therapy to patients with heart failure and oedema for fear of overloading the heart. Compression therapy is the gold standard of care for treating lower limb oedema and leg ulceration. Knowledge gaps and misconceptions have led to many myths amongst healthcare professionals, often preventing this patient group receiving the necessary treatment to manage their oedema effectively. New guidance is now available.

New Best Practice Statement

Addressing common misconceptions about compression therapy and providing an understanding of compression therapy's fundamental principles, the Best Practice Statement: The Use of Compression Therapy for Peripheral Oedema: Considerations in People with Heart Failure published by Wounds UK (1), is important guidance. It dispels the myths and empowers clinicians with the knowledge to actively start treating this patient group.

Heart failure affects an estimated 920,000 people in the UK (2). This is likely to increase due to a more elderly population, people are more likely to survive cardiac arrest due to improvements in emergency medicine and go on to develop heart failure (3), and more patients at risk due to increases in diabetes, high blood pressure and social deprivation (4).

“It is vital to remember apathy is not harm free, watching legs increase in size, blister and weep can be harmful to patients with this condition.”

Leanne Atkin, Vascular Nurse Consultant, Mid Yorkshire NHS Trust; Research Fellow, University of Huddersfield; Member of Legs Matter. 


Publication coordinated by Wounds UK with an Expert Working Group and Review Panel. Best Practice Statement: The use of compression therapy for peripheral oedema: considerations in people with heart failure by Wounds UK, is also available in print for easy reference. 

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Can I safely apply compression? A question healthcare professionals often ask when caring for a patient with heart failure and lower limb oedema. Access online education and watch webinars, in your own time, to gain insight into this complex topic. 

PATH is a gold standard education platform with a diverse selection of therapy areas and learning styles, including a dedicated 'Management of patients with heart failure and lower limb swelling' learning plan to help you provide the best possible patient care.


(1) Wounds UK (2023) Best Practice Statement: The use of compression therapy for peripheral oedema: considerations in people with heart failure. Wounds UK, London. Available to download from: www.wounds-uk.com

(2) Conrad N, Judge A, Tran J et al (2018) Temporal trends and patterns in heart failure incidence: a populationbased study of 4 million individuals. The Lancet 391: 10120

(3) Hobbs FD, Kenkre JE, Roalfe AK et al (2002) Impact of heart failure and left ventricular systolic dysfunction on quality of life: a cross-sectional study comparing common chronic cardiac and medical disorders and a representative adult population. European Heart Journal 23: 1867–76

(4) Danielsen R, Thorgeirsson G, Einarsson H et al (2017) Prevalence of heart failure in the elderly and future projections: the AGES-Reykjavík study. Scandinavian Cardiovascular Journal 51: 183–9

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