Mechanical prophylaxis has been shown to prevent potentially fatal blood clots. One analysis, for example, suggests intermittent pneumatic compression (IPC) reduces risk of deep-vein thrombosis (DVT) by 60 percent.
For patients to receive the full benefit, however, IPC devices must stay on. Many professional guidelines recommend that patients wear IPC devices nearly all day. For instance, AORN (Association of periOperative Registered Nurses) and CHEST (American College of Chest Physicians) recommend a minimum of 18 hours. Meanwhile, the United Kingdom's NICE (National Institute for Healthcare Excellence) simply recommends patients “wear their device for as much time as possible."
Ambulation is generally considered an acceptable time to take off the devices. But what about sitting in a chair in a hospital room? Does that count as being up and about, and not in need of a compression device?