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Factors precipitating an episode of lymphatic swelling

Jane Maher
14 February 2014

<p>Background: People with lymphoedema may be advised to avoid or take caution with certain activities, such as airline flights and wearing tight clothing in order to reduce the risk of an episode of lymphatic swelling. However, the association between these activities and the occurrence of lymphoedema has infrequently been evaluated. Aims: To document the patient-reported triggers of a new episode of lymphatic swelling in patients seen in a lymphoedema service. Methods: A chart review of 289 patients with an initial or recurring episode of lymphatic swelling. Results: Many patients (36%) could not recall a trigger to the episode of swelling. The most frequently recalled triggers were infection (25%), excessive activity (7%) and surgery to the at-risk limb (7%). Conclusions: Based upon frequency of self-report, the triggers that seem to be a priority for future research assessing the magnitude of increase in risk associated with exposure are: infection, excessive activity and surgery to the at-risk limb. The limitations of the study include a reliance upon self-report and the retrospective design. Declaration of interest: None.</p>

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