The outcomes of program based on complex decongestive physiotherapy for a patient with secondary lymphedema caused by infection on the leg
Fukuoka Igaku Zasshi. 2009 Jun
Nakao F, Furutani A, Yoshimura K, Hamano K, Kinoshita Y, Kawamoto R, Nakao H, Suzuki S.
Department of Health Sciences, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Kyushu University, 3-1-1 Maidashi, Higashi-ku, Fukuoka 812-8582, Japan.
Lymphedema is a chronic problem causing distress and loss of functions throughout the lifespan. Complex decongestive physiotherapy (CDP) is in common use in developed countries but has only recently been used in Japan for people in outpatient settings. CDP is a representative conservative treatment for lymphedema, conducted by combining four kinds of physical therapies: skin care, manual lymph drainage (MLD), bandage and exercise. This research project lead by a nurse is underway using CDP in an outpatient department. We report a case of secondary lymphedema caused by infection successfully treated by CDP. A 22-year-old man suffered from cellulitis of unknown origin when he was a high school student. After this event, he had been repeatedly admitted to hospital with infections as a result of the lymphedema. He underwent MLD once or twice monthly and received health education for skin care, self-massage and exercise, and was advised to wear compression stockings. Within 7 months the leg swelling had significantly reduced and his feelings of malaise and pain disappeared. Fourteen months later the circumferences of his knee and ankle had kept the sizes, and he has not re-entered hospital for infections. For this man, CDP had a positive outcome, as it has for many others around the world. Our experience has found it very important to establish adequate support systems for such people in outpatient and community settings. However, more research and knowledge sharing are required to understand the usefulness and effectiveness about this program as a primary treatment combined with health education in community settings in Japan.