Pilch, U., Wozniewski, M., & Szuba, A. (2009). Influence of compression cycle time and number of sleeve chambers on upper extremity lymphedema volume reduction during intermittent pneumatic compression. Lymphology, 42(1), 26–35.
To assess the efficacy of different intermittent pneumatic compression (IPC) protocols on edema volume reduction in women with postmastectomy lymphedema
Study subjects were randomly allocated to four groups with different cycles and sleeves for IPC. All women underwent IPC treatment for five weeks, five times per week for one hour for 25 sessions in total. Arm volume measurements for both arms were performed before and after each session. Group I (n = 17) received one-to-one cycles of compression and interval (90 seconds each), with a single chamber sleeve. Group II (n = 9) received a one-to-one cycle of compression and interval (90 seconds each), with a three-chamber sleeve. Group III (n = 11) received a one-to-one cycle of compression and interval (45 seconds and 15 seconds, respectively), with a single chamber sleeve. Group IV (n = 20) received a one-to-one cycle of compression and interval (45 seconds and 15 seconds, respectively) with a three-chamber sleeve.
The study took place at Wroclaw Medical University, in Wroclaw, Poland.
The study used a randomized trial design.
Significant differences in edema (29%–47%) were observed in all groups post-treatment with the most significant decrease seen in Group IV. The least reduction was observed in Group III, with Groups I and II experiencing similar decreases. Further comparison revealed the 45 second cycles with a three compartmental sleeve proved almost twice as effective as the 45 second cycle with single compartment sleeve.
IPC can be effective in decreasing lymphedema in upper extremities in patients with breast cancer post-treatment. Further studies are needed to validate the finding of enhanced results with a shorter compression cycle and cyclic sequential massage.
IPC devices may be efficacious in treatment of lymphedema. More studies are needed to compare pneumatic compression devices and determination of standard equipment for treatment. Nurses need to build awareness for prevention and early detection and early intervention.