Department of Nursing, College of Nursing and Midwifery, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran.
Keywords: Breast cancer, Lymphedema, Decongestive therapy, Pneumatic compression pump
Lymphedematreatment is difficult and there is no consensus on the best treatment. This study evaluated the effect of combined decongestive therapy (CDT) and pneumatic compression pump on lymphedema indicators in patients with breast cancer related lymphedema (BCRL).
Twenty one women with BCRL were enrolled. The volume difference of upper limbs, the circumference at 9 areas and shoulder joint range of motion were measured in all patients. CDT was done by an educated nurse in two phases. In first phase, CDT was accompanied by use of a compression pump for 4 weeks, 3 days per week. In second phase, CDT was performed daily without compression pump for 4 weeks by patients at home. At the end of each phase, the same primary measurements were done for patients.
The mean volume difference of the upper limbs and mean difference in circumference in all areas at different phases decreased significantly. Mean flexion, extension, abduction and external rotation (in degrees) at different phases increased significantly.
CDT significantly reduced mean volume and mean circumference of the affected limb, and significantly increased shoulder joint range of motion. The findings support the optimal effects of CDT in the treatment of secondarylymphedema of upper extremity. CLINICAL TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: 138902212621N8.