Chronic edema of the lower extremities: International consensus recommendations for compression therapy clinical research trials

Breast Care Department, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, MD, USA.
International angiology: a journal of the International Union of Angiology (Impact Factor: 0.83). 08/2012; 31(4):316-29.
Source: PubMed


Chronic edema is a multifactorial condition affecting patients with various diseases. Although the pathophysiology of edema varies, compression therapy is a basic tenant of treatment, vital to reducing swelling. Clinical trials are disparate or lacking regarding specific protocols and application recommendations for compression materials and methodology to enable optimal efficacy. Compression therapy is a basic treatment modality for chronic leg edema; however, the evidence base for the optimal application, duration and intensity of compression therapy is lacking. The aim of this document was to present the proceedings of a day-long international expert consensus group meeting that examined the current state of the science for the use of compression therapy in chronic edema. An expert consensus group met in Brighton, UK, in March 2010 to examine the current state of the science for compression therapy in chronic edema of the lower extremities. Panel discussions and open space discussions examined the current literature, clinical practice patterns, common materials and emerging technologies for the management of chronic edema. This document outlines a proposed clinical research agenda focusing on compression therapy in chronic edema. Future trials comparing different compression devices, materials, pressures and parameters for application are needed to enhance the evidence base for optimal chronic oedema management. Important outcomes measures and methods of pressure and oedema quantification are outlined. Future trials are encouraged to optimize compression therapy in chronic edema of the lower extremities.

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    • "One problem of bandages is that the method is often not used, or used incorrectly due to the lack of trained professionals. Elastic materials are employed to maintain the results of treatment (Stout et al. 2012; Partsch 2012; Flour et al. 2013). Thus, studies on new materials that may reduce this problem are necessary. "
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this work was to study on a new low-elastic textile that fulfilled the criteria of fabrics for the manufacture of compression garments to treat lymphedema. The evolution of Godoy & Godoy compression sleeves was performed by following the patients treated for arm lymphedema. Sixty-six patients with ages ranging from 35 to 83 years and a mean of 58.8 years were included in this study. Diagnosis, by the clinical evaluation confirmed by the volumetry, was defined as a volume difference of more than 200 mL between the arms. All the participants were submitted to treatment sessions once, or two times weekly in an outpatient setting. The material used for the compression sleeve in this study was commercialized in Brazil under the name of Gorgurão(r). When high alterations in the pattern of sleeves were made, the patients were monitored by weekly volumetric assessments. The criterion to maintain the modifications in the design was that the hand did not present with edema. By the end of the study, the design of the sleeve was changed so as not to use compression therapy of the hands in 81.8% of the cases; 12.2% continued with compression of the hand, 3.0% stopped using compression completely and 3.0% used only a glove. Thus, Godoy & Godoy compression sleeves could be an efficient option for compression in the treatment of arm lymphedema as they provided better independence in day-to-day activities.
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    • "It consists of skin care, exercises, compression with an inelastic garment and manual lymphatic drainage when needed. Since the type of edema is usually multifactorial including lymphedema as well as venous stasis, the focus of the treatment has to be based on compression therapy (multilayer bandaging and garment wear) and exercise therapy [20] [21]. This conservative approach can be combined with treatment with a loop diuretic such as furosemide. "

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    ABSTRACT: The optimal pressure to reduce chronic extremity swelling is still a matter of debate. The aim of this paper was to measure volume reduction of a swollen extremity depending on the amount of pressure exerted by compression stockings and inelastic bandages. Thirty-six patients with unilateral breast cancer related arm lymphedema were investigated in a lymph clinic in the Netherlands, 42 legs with chronic edema of the lower extremities were examined in a phlebological centre in Italy. The arm-patients were randomized to receive inelastic arm bandages with a pressure between 20-30 mmHg or 44-68 mmHg. The leg patients were either treated with compression stockings (23-32 mmHg) or with inelastic bandages (pressure 53-88 mmHg). Water-displacement volumetry and measurement of leg circumference was performed before and after compression. In the arm-patients low pressure after 2 hours achieved a higher degree of volume reduction (-2.3%, 95% CI 1.0-3.6) than high pressure (-1.5%, 95% CI 0.2-2.8) (n.s.). In patients with leg edema compression stockings in the range between 20 and 40 mmHg showed a positive correlation between exerted pressure and volume reduction, bandages applied with an initial resting pressure of more than 60 mm Hg resulted in a decreasing volume reduction. There is obviously an upper limit beyond which further increase of compression pressure seems counterproductive. For inelastic bandages this upper limit is around 30 Hg on the upper and around 50-60 mmHg on the lower extremity.
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