Compression Therapy of Limb Edema Using Hydrostatic Pressure of Mercury

Arthur Palmer*, June Macchiaverna, Amy Braun, Ronald Hendrix, Albert J. Miller

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


A new apparatus for the treatment of edema of the extremities is described. The extremity is placed in a cylindrical vertical tank and isolated by a circum ferential synthetic rubber membrane. The equipment is programmed to create a mold of the extremity using a slurry of plastic granules from a reservoir. Mer cury is then pumped between the mold and the extremity, thereby exerting a pres sure gradient on the extremity equal to the hydrostatic pressure of the mercury column. A computerized program forms the mold and runs several compres sion cycles for each treatment session. Twelve patients were treated (8 upper extremities, 4 lower extremities) on a weekly or semiweekly basis. Progress was followed with computed axial tomog raphy scans, as well as measurements and photographs. Ten patients experienced significant immediate decrease in edema with each treatment. Wrapping or elas tic support was required to prevent the return of edema between treatments. No pain, skin injury, or other complication of treatment was noted. The apparatus can safely provide short-term, immediate, significant improve ment of extremity edema. Further studies will be necessary to determine long- term benefit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)533-542
Number of pages10
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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