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Development of a framework for pneumatic device selection for lymphedema treatment

Authors Maul, Devine JA, Wincer CR

Published 4 December 2009 Volume 2009:2 Pages 57—65


Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Sonja M Maul1, Julie A Devine2, Carolyn R Wincer3

1St. Luke’s Idaho Elks Rehabilitative Services, Boise, ID, USA; 2Center for Wound Care, Butler Memorial Hospital, Butler, PA, USA; 3Centers for Rehabilitation Services, Gibsonia, PA, USA

Abstract: The results of three patients with difficult to manage leg and trunk lymphedema are reported. Patients were treated with the current standard of care: combined decongestive therapy. All three patients met obstacles in achieving independent self-care, which impeded their discharge to home care. The use of two currently available programmable pneumatic compression devices (PCDs) was investigated to determine if these devices could enable these difficult-to-manage patients to meet their discharge goals. Results indicate that programmable PCDs can be effective in managing complicated cases of leg and trunk lymphedema, and that differences may exist between devices. In this trial, the device with lower applied pressures and smaller pneumatic chambers provided better tolerated treatment and overall better patient outcomes. These three case reports show that in-home use of an appropriate PCD can help patients with stage 3 and advanced stage 2 lymphedema achieve stable limb volumes with no exacerbation of lymphedema-related symptoms. Results also demonstrate the ability of patients to consistently use programmable PCDs in a home environment. The results are presented in a structured decision-making framework to aid the therapist and physician in selecting appropriate patients for home PCD lymphedema therapy, and in the selection of an appropriate PCD.

Keywords: lymphedema, swelling, pneumatic, compression, flexitouch, lympha press.

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