Lymphedema Pumps are compression pumps which force air in sleeves with multiple chambers which house overlapping cells. The pump forces air in to the cells which encourage lymph fluid to continue moving and not pool. Lymphedema Pumps are not just a reactive treatment but in many cases they aid in softening fibrotic tissues which will create an environment for higher efficiency lymphatic drainage.
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Lymphedema is characterized by a retention of fluid and tissue swelling. The fluid retention and swelling is caused by a lymphatic system which has been compromised. Often times fatigue will accompany a heavy and swollen limb or an accumulation of fluid in other areas of the body which can include the neck or head. If left untreated, early stages of lymphedema can cause skin to begin discoloring and continue to grow in severity until deformation occurs.
Effecting nearly 140 million people through out the world, lymphedema is primarily a hereditary condition (primary). Injuries to the lymphatic vessels after lymph node dissection, surgery or radiation treatments can also compromise the lyhmpatic system and spur on lymphedema (secondary). In patients who have undergone radiation therapy for cancer treatments, lymphedema may take months or even years before developing.
The indications for using a lymphedema pump are as follows:
- Postoperative edema
- Post-traumatic edema
- Chronic edema
- Primary or secondary lyphedema
- Chronic swelling from venous insufficiency
Lymphedema Pump contraindications are as follows:
- Compartment Syndrome
- Deep vein thrombosis
- Local superficial infection
- Edema secondary to congestive heart failure
- Ischemic vascular disease
- Displaced fractures
- Acute pulmonary edema
- Peripheral vascular disease
Consult with your primary care physician for recommended lymphedema pump application procedures and duration.
- Attach your lymphedema sleeve to your lymphedema pump
- Apply the Lymphedema Sleeve
- Set your start and end times
- If you are able to set inflation pressures :
- 40-60 mm Hg for upper extremity
- 60-100 mm Hg for lower extremity *Not to exceed the diastolic pressure of the patient
- Timing sequence for on-off
- 45-15 seconds; 3: duty cycle
- Recommened application length is 20 minutes
- Two to three applications a day
*Inspect the pump, hoses, valves sleeves, and boots often for leaks.
For succesful treatment with a lymphadem pump, it's important to have a proper fitting arm or leg sleeve and to do so you will need three measurements. To accurately take these measurements you should have a flexible tape measure.
For arm lymphedema garments measure the circumference of the arm just below the armpit as well as the circumference of the wrist, then, measure the length from the armpit to the wrist.
For leg sleeves measure the circumference of the upper thigh, the ankle and the length from each.