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Quality of Life Tools and Their Relevance for Females with Genital Lymphedema

Smith, Shelly L. PT, PhD(c), CSLT1; Bartlett, William P, PT, PhD2; Gleeson, Peggy B. PT, PhD2; Sullivan, Neely Tolbert PT, CLT3; Mitchell, Katy PT, PhD2

Journal of Women's Health Physical Therapy:
Research Report

Objective:: The importance of assessing quality of life (QOL) has become a key component in patient care. Due to increasing emphasis, several QOL tools have been developed. Generic tools, used to measure a wide variety of categories relating to QOL, may be too general to assess disease specific symptoms. Other specialized tools may not be appropriate for multiple conditions. The purpose of this review of literature was to determine if there was an existing tool available for females with genital lymphedema.

Study Design:: Literature was obtained from a search of the Pubmed and Cinahl databases. The key word “quality of life” was grouped with the other key words; lymphedema, swelling, and pelvic floor.

Background:: Lymphedema is becoming an increasingly important condition in health care. However, there is a lack of research in the area of genital lymphedema treatment and associated outcome measures in females. Three symptoms which can negatively impact QOL and are often overlooked in this condition are sexual and urinary dysfunction, and pain. Self‐perceived QOL has become a valuable outcome measure to clinicians and researchers.

Methods and Measures:: A literature review was conducted of current QOL tools and the tools' ability to accurately assess symptoms associated with genital lymphedema.

Results:: Twelve tools were evaluated for the ability to properly evaluate multiple symptoms relating to genital lymphedema.

Conclusions:: Currently, there has not been a tool developed that will thoroughly assess the QOL of those individuals with female genital lymphedema.

Author Information

1 DeKalb Medical, Lithonia, GA

2 Texas Woman's University, Houston, TX

3 BenchMark Physical Therapy, Austell, GA

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

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