Ridner, S.H., Fu, M.R., Wanchai, A., Stewart, B.R., Armer, J.M., & Cormier, J.N. (2012). Self-management of lymphedema: A systematic review of the literature from 2004 to 2011. Nursing Research, 61(4), 291–299.doi: 10.1097/NNR.0b013e31824f82b2
To evaluate evidence of lymphedema self-care through a systematic review
The total references received was 47. Literature was evaluated and commented on using categories of PEP levels of evidence.
Reviewed findings related to self-care interventions. No interventions met criteria for Recommended for Practice. Interventions that were Likely to Be Effective included full-body exercise and phase 2 complete decongestive therapy (CDT). Pneumatic compression devices, compression garments, infection management, self-monitoring, skin care, simple manual decongestive therapy, and weight reduction were categorized as Effectiveness Not Established. Aromatherapy was categorized as Effectiveness Unlikely.
Strongest evidence for effect is found for exercise and phase 2 CDT.
There were relatively few studies in the area of self-care interventions.
Findings suggested that self-care using exercise and CDT are likely to be effective for lymphedema self-management. Further research in other potential self-care interventions are needed.