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How Do T.E.D. Hose Work?

By J. Lucy Boyd ; Updated August 14, 2017

Thromboembolism deterrent, or T.E.D., hose are prescribed by physicians to treat and prevent a variety of conditions. They are often prescribed to be worn 23 hours each day, with a one-hour removal time for bathing and other activities. T.E.D. hose are a type of compression stocking.


T.E.D. hose help prevent blood clots from forming in the legs by promoting the return of venous blood from the feet and legs. Their mild compression assists the veins and lymphatic vessels to return blood toward the heart and lymphatic fluid through its normal circulation in a patient who is bedridden or highly inactive.


T.E.D. hose are available from several manufacturers and are sized according to leg measurements. They come in knee-high and thigh-high versions, which is chosen according to prescriber instructions. The hose may have an open toe or a closed toe. They are usually white, but may be found in a variety of colors.


T.E.D. hose are beneficial to people who are immobilized for a prolonged period of time, such as a patient recuperating from surgery or a serious illness. They also benefit individuals who are bedridden due to a bone fracture, traction or other orthopedic condition. They are often placed on individuals with a history of blood clots or a strong likelihood of developing a clot. The Illinois Bone & Joint Institute explains that T.E.D. hose also help decrease leg swelling during the inactive period following surgery.


T.E.D. hose are often initially fitted by a nurse. When the patient applies the hose on his own, he should precisely follow the instructions given by the nurse or other health care professional. Written directions explaining how to safely apply the hose can usually be found in or on the hose package if a reminder is needed. The hose should be comfortable in the toes, without wrinkling or bunching. If a caregiver is assisting in the application of the hose, it is helpful to stand or sit near the trunk of the individual instead of beyond the toes. From this position, the hose can more easily be pulled onto the leg.


T.E.D. hose should be kept clean and dry. While they can be laundered daily, it is better to have two or more pairs to interchange if the hose are worn on a regular basis. Application of talcum powder prior to hose placement is helpful if putting on the hose is difficult. The hose should not be turned down at the calf or thigh. If an individual has symptoms of a current blood clot in the leg, he should notify the physician prior to using the antiembolism hose, as the devices may cause a clot to dislodge, according to the "Nurses' Guide to Clinical Procedures."

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