In a recently published article, physiatrists from the department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Mayo Clinic sought to adapt the complex techniques of formal lymphedema therapy to the more generalized forms of edema often seen in the chronic disease and palliative care settings. Edema affects as many as 85 percent of patients at the end of life and undermines their comfort, mobility and quality of life.
In the case study, complex decongestive therapy was initiated for a 57-year-old female patient with advanced pancreatic cancer who presented to the lymphedema clinic with symmetrical, deeply pitting lower extremity edema extending to her proximal thighs. The patient abandoned the therapy after finding the time and energy demands of treatment to be excessive, and inquired for an alternative treatment. She was fitted with adjustable compression devices, as well as knee-high compression stockings with ulcer liners to ease use.
Lymphedema treatment modalities have much to offer beyond their well-characterized benefit in classical lymphedema. In modified forms, they may lessen the burden of refractory edema originating from a diverse range of causes. Thoughtful planning and practice, however, are essential, as an inadequate adaptation may result in unnecessary effort or injury for the patient, or an unsatisfactory outcome.
Read the full article here.