Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy are given two pairs of anti-embolism stockings after their first treatment. These stockings are designed to promote healthy blood flow and prevent blood clotting. The cost can range from $50 to $200 and they wear out quickly, leading to more expense. To ease the financial burden, Circle City Cryogenics in Indianapolis has developed a cryotreating process that improves the durability and elasticity of these stockings and is offering it free to Indiana residents.
Brian Tomlinson, cryogenic treatment specialist at Circle City Cryogenics, began treating anti-embolism hose in July of 2018. Having some experience treating nylons for wait staff uniforms and engine belts used in auto racing, Tomlinson had seen the durability improvements himself. However, he had yet to quantify this improvement until Indianapolis ABC 6 news covered his endeavor.
The report caught the eye of Matt Ferrell, Manger of Metrology for Purdue Polytechnic Columbus (IN). Purdue Polytechnic is one of two universities east of the Mississippi River with a metrology department. Using its facility, Ferrell and Tomlinson developed a plan to test the improvements empirically.
During a blind test, Ferrell examined an A and B sample of stockings. One had been cryotreated, the other had not. Using an Instron Stress Strain machine, Ferrell was able to test each sample until it failed in the form of a tear. The results showed a 50 percent improvement in elasticity for the treated sample. While the study was not long enough to test overall durability—how long a patient can expect the stockings to last—the findings suggest that the change in durability is well over 50 percent. “Fifty percent is going to be the low number. It’s not going to be less than that. It would quite possibly be a multiplier from there that I could see being as high as 200 or 300 percent,” said Ferrell.
Tomlinson got the idea for treating these anti-embolism stockings when his wife was undergoing chemotherapy. He and his family had firsthand experience with the cost and short shelf life of available hose. He realized that more patients were encountering this hardship, so he decided to treat stockings and make a difference for patients.
To ease the financial burden for patients and their families, Tomlinson and Circle City Cryogenics established a new program for Indiana residents. Any individual can contact Circle City Cryogenics via their website and request to have their stockings treated. The company will treat the hose free of charge.
Currently, the program is only available to residents of Indiana. However, Tomlinson hopes to expand the project in the near future. He notes, “It all depends on the number of requests we receive. If more people need help through their treatment, we’d like to expand the program to them.”
While Tomlinson hopes that the trend catches on, he has met some resistance. “What we’ve seen is that people who make these things don’t want them to last longer. If they do, they lose money,” says Tomlinson. “What I’m actually hoping will happen is that the other cryo companies step up and do the same thing. Between the stress and the expense that cancer patients go through the last thing a patient should worry about is how long their stockings last.”
For more information on Circle City Cryogenics treatment or to request stocking treatment (Indiana residents only), visit http://www.circlecitycryogenics.com. All stocking treatment requests are confidential and protected. ■
Visit CSA’s Cryogenic Treatment Database, cryogenictreatmentdatabase.org