Compression Wraps for Lymphoedema - Rapid Review Feb 2016

AWMCDSG commissioned Dr Steve Thomas to undertake a Rapid Review into the role of Compression Wraps in the management of lymphoedema in January 2016.  

The Review is now available as a PDF.

Review Summary & Key Messages

  • The literature contains no records of large scale trials on the use of compression wraps in the treatment of lymphoedema but case studies, together with data drawn from other sources, suggest that these devices may offer some advantages over existing types of compression therapy for this indication.
  • Unlike multilayer bandaging systems wraps can be replaced or adjusted by patients themselves, which increases their acceptability and therefore, it is assumed, improves compliance whilst reducing the need for professional interventions.
  • Despite a significant initial cost, the literature suggests that because these items can be used for an extended period, after about 12 weeks they become cost neutral after which their continued use results in savings in material costs alone of up to £900 during a six month period. No published evidence was found to suggest that the appropriate use of these new devices will contribute to increased expenditure.
  • There is no evidence that compression wraps are more likely than other commonly used lymphoedema treatments to cause adverse events. However, like any other form of compression therapy, these devices should only be supplied and administered by an experienced health care professional to an individual whose underlying medical condition has been properly diagnosed. This is to exclude the possibility that the oedema is caused by some other underlying condition such as untreated congestive heart failure or congestive pulmonary disease.
  • As the pressure produced by compression wraps is determined by the tension imparted to them during application, it is suggested that the availability and/or reliability of any application aids or guides should form the basis of a future investigation.
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