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Intermittent Pneumatic Compression and Bone Mineral Density: An Exploratory Study

Hawley Chase Almstedt and Zakkoyya H. Lewis

Context:

Intermittent pneumatic compression (IPC) is a common therapeutic modality used to reduce swelling after trauma and prevent thrombosis due to postsurgical immobilization. Limited evidence suggests that IPC may decrease the time needed to rehabilitate skeletal fractures and increase bone remodeling.

Objective:

To establish feasibility and explore the novel use of a common therapeutic modality, IPC, on bone mineral density (BMD) at the hip of noninjured volunteers.

Design:

Within-subjects intervention.

Setting:

University research laboratory.

Participants:

Noninjured participants (3 male, 6 female) completed IPC treatment on 1 leg 1 h/d, 5 d/wk for 10 wk. Pressure was set to 60 mm Hg when using the PresSsion and Flowtron Hydroven compression units.

Main Outcome Measures:

Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry was used to assess BMD of the hip in treated and nontreated legs before and after the intervention. Anthropometrics, regular physical activity, and nutrient intake were also assessed.

Results:

The average number of completed intervention sessions was 43.4 (± 3.8) at an average duration of 9.6 (± 0.8) wk. Repeated-measures analysis of variance indicated a significant time-by-treatment effect at the femoral neck (P = .023), trochanter (P = .027), and total hip (P = .008). On average, the treated hip increased 0.5–1.0%, while the nontreated hip displayed a 0.7–1.9% decrease, depending on the bone site.

Conclusion:

Results of this exploratory investigation suggest that IPC is a therapeutic modality that is safe and feasible for further investigation on its novel use in optimizing bone health.