Compression Stockings for the Prevention of Venous Leg Ulcer Recurrence: A Health Technology Assessment

Health Quality Ontario
Record ID 32018000428
Authors' objectives: This health technology assessment looks at the effectiveness, safety, cost-effectiveness, budget impact, and patient experiences of compression stockings for prevention of venous leg ulcer recurrence.
Authors' results and conclusions: Results: One randomized controlled trial reported that the recurrence rate was significantly lower at 12 months in people who were assigned to the compression stocking group compared with people assigned to the control group (risk ratio 0.43, 95% CI, 0.27–0.69; P = .001) (GRADE: Moderate). Three randomized controlled trials reported no significant difference in recurrence rates between the levels of pressure. One randomized controlled trial also reported that the risk of recurrence was six times higher in those who did not adhere to compression stockings than in those who did adhere. One single-arm cohort study showed that the recurrence rate was considerably higher in people who did not adhere or had poor adherence (79%) compared with those who adhered to compression stockings (4%). Compared with usual care, compression stockings were associated with higher costs and with increased quality-adjusted life years. We estimated that, on average, the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of compression stockings was $27,300 per quality-adjusted life year gained compared to no compression stockings. There was some uncertainty in our results, but most simulations (> 70%) showed that the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio remained below $50,000 per quality-adjusted life-year. We estimated that the annual budget impact of funding compression stockings would range between $0.95 million and $3.19 million per year over the next five years. People interviewed commonly reported that chronic venous insufficiency had a substantial impact on their day-to-day lives. There were social impacts from the difficulty or inability to walk and emotional impacts from the loss of independence and fear of ulcer recurrence. There were barriers to the wearing of compression stockings, including replacement cost and the difficulty of putting them on; however, most people interviewed reported that using compression stockings improved their condition and their quality of life. Conclusions: The available evidence shows that, compared with usual care, compression stockings are effective in preventing venous leg ulcer recurrence and likely to be cost-effective. In people with a healed venous leg ulcer, wearing compression stockings helps to reduce the risk of recurrence by about half. Publicly funding compression stockings for people with venous leg ulcers would result in additional costs to the Ontario health care system over the next 5 years. Despite concerns about cost and the daily chore of wearing compression stockings, most people interviewed felt that compression stockings provided important benefits through reduction of swelling and prevention of recurrence.
Authors' recomendations: Health Quality Ontario, under the guidance of the Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee, recommends publicly funding medical-grade compression stockings for the prevention of venous leg ulcer recurrence in people with a healed venous leg ulcer
Authors' methods: We conducted a systematic review of the literature to identify randomized trials and observational studies examining the effectiveness of compression stockings in reducing the risk of recurrence of venous leg ulcers after healing and/or reported on the quality of life for patients and any adverse events from the wearing of compression stockings. We performed a literature search to identify studies and evaluated the quality of the evidence using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) approach. We conducted a cost–utility analysis with a 5-year time horizon from the perspective of the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. We compared compression stockings to usual care (no compression stockings) and simulated a hypothetical cohort of 65-year-old patients with healed venous ulcers, using a Markov model. Model input parameters were obtained primarily from the published literature. In addition, we used Ontario costing sources and consultation with clinical experts. We estimated quality-adjusted life years gained and direct medical costs. We conducted sensitivity analyses and a budget impact analysis to estimate the additional costs required to publicly fund compression stockings in Ontario. All costs are presented in 2018 Canadian dollars. We spoke to people who recently began using compression stockings and those who have used them for many years to gain an understanding of their day-to-day experience with the management of chronic venous insufficiency and compression stockings.
Project Status: Completed
Year Published: 2019
Requestor: Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee (OHTAC); Ontario Ministry of Health
English language abstract: An English language summary is available
Publication Type: Full HTA
Country: Canada
Province: Ontario
Pubmed ID: 30828407
MeSH Terms
  • Varicose Ulcer
  • Stockings, Compression
  • Recurrence
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Health Care Costs
  • Leg Ulcer
  • Markov Chains
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Secondary Prevention
  • compression stockings
  • venous leg ulcers
  • recurrence
  • cost-utility analysis
  • venous insufficiency
Organisation Name: Health Quality Ontario
Contact Address: Evidence Development and Standards, Health Quality Ontario, 130 Bloor Street West, 10th floor, Toronto, Ontario Canada M5S 1N5
Contact Name:
Contact Email:
Copyright: Health Quality Ontario
This is a bibliographic record of a published health technology assessment from a member of INAHTA or other HTA producer. No evaluation of the quality of this assessment has been made for the HTA database.