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Journal of Women's Health Physical Therapy:
Research Report

The Effects of Complete Decongestive Physical Therapy Treatment On Edema Reduction, Quality of Life, and Functional Ability of Persons with Upper Extremity Lymphedema

O'Neill, Jennifer MPT1; Beatus, Joseph PhD, PT2

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Abstract

Background:: There is paucity of clinical data regarding the effect of Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT) on edema reduction, and quality of life changes that accompany the increase in lymphedema.

Purpose:: The basis of our study was to investigate the effectiveness of CDP treatment on edema reduction, functional ability, quality of life, pain level, and grip strength.

Methods:: Limb volumes, grip strength, pain, quality of life, and functional ability were recorded pre‐ and posttreatment. Data were analyzed with repeated measures ANOVA.

Results:: The results of the study demonstrated statistically significant reduction in edema and pain, and an increase in mean grip strength and quality of life. No statistically significant change was noted in functional ability.

Conclusions:: In a clinical sample of postmastectomy patients with axillary node dissection, CDT treatment seems to reduce edema, improve quality of life, decrease pain, and increase grip strength. These findings from a small consecutive sample should serve as an impetus for further studies.

© 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

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