'Putting the pressure on': a study of compression sleeves in the management of lymphoedema

Anne F Williams, Angela E Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Breast cancer-related lymphoedema is a chronic, progressive condition characterized by swelling in the arm and adjacent trunk, with changes to the skin and underlying tissues. The application of compression garments is an essential component in the long-term management of lymphoedema. A wide range of garments is available in the UK; however, there is limited literature to guide therapists in their appropriate selection. This paper reviews the effects of compression therapy, outlines the components of lymphoedema treatment, and discusses features of lymphoedema compression sleeves. A small study of nine women with breast cancer-related lymphoedema is reported. The study investigates the interface pressure profiles of a selection of commonly used compression sleeves as measured by the Oxford Pressure Monitor. The results showed a wide variation in the interface pressures for all sleeves. A graduated profile along the length of the arm was not always present. Two layers of garments led to markedly increased pressures at the top of the arm but the pressures along the arm did not double. The possible implications for clinical practice are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-94
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Tissue Viability
Volume9
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 1999

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