Since the first British Standards for compression hosiery were published in the 1980's, the use of compression garments to treat various clinical complications has changed significantly. Performance requirements and test parameters which seemed appropriate 33 years ago are now causing confusion for users of the products and operational difficulties for test houses and manufacturers.
To address these issues a new standard - BS 661210:2018 - has recently been published. BS 661210 is a revision and merger of three previous standards (BS 6612:1985, BS 7563:1999 and BS 7672:1993) for graduated compression hosiery, anti-embolism hosiery and graduated support hosiery. The BSI Panel took the opportunity of the revision to address inconsistencies in the previous standards, clarifying various test parameters and technical issues, and producing a single consistent test method to test both medical and non-medical compression garments.
As well as specifying the test method, the Standard sets out performance requirements for the compression and stiffness of these devices, and these have been updated to reflect current clinical UK guidance . A new informative Rationale Annex (Annex C) has been included to explain the thinking behind most of the major changes in the Standard, and another new Annex (Annex D) explains the variety of classes and compression profiles used in the UK that are referenced in various standards and clinical guidance documents.
Peter Phillips (Director of SMTL) is chair of BSI committee CH/205/1, under which the Panel operated, and Dr Gavin Hughes (Deputy Director, SMTL) acted as Editor of the standard.