An ancient problem
The use of compression bandages as a medical treatment is a time-honored technique. The ancient Greeks practiced it, and a mural painting in the Tassili caves in Sahara dating back to 5000-2500 B.C. even show a person in bandage. However, little has changed with how bandages have been applied since those ancient times - until now.
The pressure given by a bandage has been, and still is, in the hands of the person applying it. The pressure applied has been investigated in several studies where experienced nurses have participated. The results from these are clear: it’s next to impossible to achieve a specific pressure, and the damage can be irreparable for the patient.
Compression bandages are used on patients with, for example, venous and/or arterial insufficiency. A correct sub-bandage pressure is crucial to give an efficient treatment without reducing blood flow which, in the worst case, can lead to amputation.
Our goal is for every compression treatment to be controlled; in the same way syringes give exact dosages when administered intravenously, external venous treatment should be quantifiable. This means that the sub-bandage pressure needs to be programmed into the bandage material.
Our bandage is the result of collaboration between a mathematician, a surgeon and a textile developer. The surgeon, Dr. Erney Mattsson, saw an unsolved problem with the bandage he used in his practice; the mathematician, Prof. Torbjörn Lundh, solved the problem with a mathematical formula. The mathematical formula was handed over to Josefin Damm, the textile developer, who interpreted it into a textile.
Our textile material originates from the mathematical theory of Laplace's Law. When using this in the concept of sub-bandage pressure, it tells us that the pressure is a result of the number of overlaps, the force used when bandaging, and the curvature of the leg. Each overlap adds pressure and a higher force will increase the pressure. The curvature is the factor that makes it complicated; on a smaller leg the curvature is sharper and, therefore, a smaller force is needed to achieve the same pressure as on the curvature of a thicker leg. This means that the pressure on the ankle will be higher than on the calf if the same force and overlap is used. Our bandage has taken all these factors into consideration in order to fulfil the goal of controlled compression therapy for everyone.
An optimal bandage has to work with the three factors influencing the sub-bandage pressure; the elastic properties of the textile material have to be correct and precise. The perfect material would make the factors of force and curvature work together; if a smaller force is used on a smaller circumference and a higher force is used on a larger circumference, the resulting pressure on the leg would be same for all circumferences. Moreover, with visual guides on the bandage, the overlap and force can be controlled. Our conclusion was that a material with visual guides, coupled with specific elastic properties, would make the force and the curvature neutralize each other - resulting in a uniform, precise pressure.
As there was no existing textile material with correct elastic properties presently on the market, extensive product development was made in order to get a product that achieved our goal of precise compression treatment for a leg of any size.
The PressCise strategy
The resulting product
The knitted textile construction that makes Lundatex® medical bandage has very specific properties. Further, visual guides on the bandage control the overlap and the force used during application. This results in a bandage with a mathematical formula built into a textile material. With this, we can guarantee that a precise pressure is given to the leg, independent of applier, size and shape of the leg, and if the leg is in resting position or active. It is truly a smart bandage!
Another important result from using Lundatex® medical bandage is that with even, uniform pressure comes better comfort. This, in turn, will make the patient more likely to keep the bandage on. The result is thereby a higher compliance rate – an important factor for better compression treatment and successful outcomes.
Lundatex® medical is the result of an interdisciplinary collaboration; medicine, mathematics and textile development. The warp-knitted textile that the bandage is made of has elastic properties and visual guides to give anyone the confidence to apply a bandage on anyone. As long as one follows the guides on the bandage, anyone – be it a nurse or someone's relative – can give controlled compression therapy to a leg of any size.