Head and neck lymphoedema-research challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic

Br J Community Nurs. 2021 Oct 1;26(Sup10):S6-S15. doi: 10.12968/bjcn.2021.26.Sup10.S6.


Management of secondary head and neck lymphoedema has undergone little research investigation. Its treatment is time and labour intensive and involves multiple therapeutic modalities without a clear understanding of which is most effective. This study aimed to determine the feasibility of a randomised controlled trial comparing two therapeutic modalities to manage head and neck lymphoedema. The secondary objective was to evaluate the clinical effects of these treatments. Participants were randomised to receive treatment with manual lymphatic drainage or compression over 6 weeks, with the primary outcome-percentage tissue water-measured 12 weeks after treatment. Six participants were recruited until the study was ceased due to restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Some 86% of required attendances were completed. Percentage tissue water increased in all participants at 12 weeks. No consistent trends were identified between internal and external lymphoedema. The small number of people recruited to this study informs its feasibility outcomes but limits any conclusions about clinical implications.

PMID:34542313 | DOI:10.12968/bjcn.2021.26.Sup10.S6

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