Effect of intermittent compression therapy on bone mineral density in women with low bone mass.Bone. 2005 Nov; 37(5):662-8.BONE
Intermittent pneumatic compression has been shown to increase blood flow in the leg which, in turn, may improve BMD. We performed a pilot study to assess whether intermittent compression of the leg could improve BMD at the femoral neck. 37 postmenopausal women with low bone density T score < -1 at either hip or spine were recruited into the study of whom 24 completed. Women applied intermittent compression for 2 h a day for 6 months to each leg in turn. The study lasted 1 year. Women were also given daily 1 g of Calcium and 800 IU of vitamin D (Calcichew D 3 forte Shire, UK). Lumbar spine BMD decreased by 0.5% at 12 months compared with baseline (mean difference 0.005 g/cm(2), 95% C.I -0.2287 to 0.03459, P = 0.28). At 12 months the right femoral neck BMD increased by 3% compared with baseline (mean 0.811 +/- 0.08, P = 0.22), while the left increased 2% (0.783 +/- 0.06, P = 0.16). There was no change in BMD at the distal tibia or heels and no site effect of the compression. The fat mass decreased by 4.6% in the right leg and 5% in the left leg (P = 0.005 and 0.003, respectively). Tissue thickness did not change. The analysis of the interaction between the degree of exercise and change in BMD showed a statistically significant increase in right femoral neck BMD following 6 months of right leg intermittent compression, but only in women whose exercise was minimal (P = 0.029). This effect was not seen in the left femur possibly due to the reduced number of patients who completed the study in this group. These preliminary results indicate that intermittent pneumatic leg compression may have a role in osteoporosis prevention. It may provide a mean of inhibiting decline in femoral neck BMD, particularly in sedentary women.