Flexitouch – A Randomized Controlled Trial Comparing Two Types of Pneumatic Compression for Breast Cancer-Related Lymphedema Treatment in the Home

Authors: Caroline E. Fife, MD, Suzanne Davey, OTR/L CLT-LANA, Erik Maus, MD, Renie Guilliod, MD, and Harvey N. Mayrovitz, PhD


PublishedSupportive Care in Cancer. 2012; Vol. 20(12): 3279–3286


Pneumatic compression devices (PCDs) are used in the home setting as adjunctive treatment for lymphedema after acute treatment in a clinical setting. These devices range in complexity from simple to technologically advanced. The objective of this prospective, randomized study was to determine whether an advanced PCD (APCD) provides better outcomes as measured by arm edema and tissue water reductions compared to a standard PCD (SPCD) in patients with arm lymphedema after breast cancer treatment.


The APCD-treated group experienced an average of 29% reduction in edema compared to a 16% increase in the SPCD group. Mean changes in TDC values were a 5.8% reduction for the APCD group and a 1.9% increase for the SPCD group.


This study suggests that for the home maintenance phase of treatment of arm lymphedema secondary to breast cancer therapy, the adjunctive treatment with an APCD provides better outcomes than with a SPCD.

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