Tuesday, April 5, 2016

New study shows benefits of compression pumps for lymphedema patients.

Compression pumps are a hot topic within the lymphedema community—I have changed my views on them a few times myself over the years!—but a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Dermatology yesterday may help settle some of the debate.

Titled “The Cutaneous, Net Clinical, and Economic Benefits of Advanced Pneumatic Compression Devices in Patients with Lymphedema,” this national study shared important research regarding the benefits of using an advanced pneumatic compression device (specifically the Flexitouch® System by Tactile Medical) on not only the treatment of lymphedema but the overall cost of care as well.

The authors of the study—which include leading experts in lymphedema and public health research from the University of Minnesota, Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, and Stanford University—analyzed 718 lymphedema patients from across the United States over a five-year period, and evaluated clinical events and costs for a 12-month period prior to and during a 12-month period of treatment. The participants included both cancer patients and non-cancer patients.

The study found that, through use of the Flexitouch at-home advanced pneumatic compression treatment, the rate of hospital and physical therapy visits were reduced, thus lowering cost of care. It also defined the following:
-79% reduction in rate of cellulitis episodes among cancer patients (75% for non-cancer patients)
-54% reduction in rate of inpatient hospitalizations for non-cancer patients
-37% reduction in total lymphedema-related costs per patient, excluding medical equipment, among cancer patients (36% for non-cancer patients)
-40% reduction in rate of outpatient hospital visits among non-cancer patients (29% for cancer patients)
-34% reduction in rate of physical therapy visits among non-cancer patients (30% for cancer patients)

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