Water-based exercise for patients with chronic arm lymphedema: A randomized controlled pilot trial

Karin Johansson, Sandi Hayes, Rebecca M. Speck, Kathryn H. Schmitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

30 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the feasibility and effect of a water-based exercise program on lymphedema status and shoulder range of motion among women with breast cancer-related lymphedema. Design: This was a single-blinded, randomized controlled pilot trial. Twenty-nine eligible breast cancer survivors (median, 10 yrs after surgery) with arm lymphedema (median, 21% interlimb difference) were included and randomized into the intervention (n = 15) or control (n = 14) group. Twenty-five participants completed the study. The intervention was at least twice-weekly water-based exercise for 8 wks, initially supervised but performed independently during the study period. Outcomes of interest were feasibility as measured by retention and adherence; lymphedema status as measured by optoelectronic perometry, bioimpedance spectroscopy, and tissue dielectric constant; and shoulder range of motion as measured by goniometer. Results: Four participants were not measured at postintervention and were not included in the analysis (retention). Four participants in the intervention group did not perform the minimum water-based exercise criteria set (adherence). No effect was found on lymphedema status. Compared with the control group, median range of motion change for flexion was 6 (1-10) degrees (P < 0.001) and 6 (0-15.5) degrees (P = 0.07) for external rotation. A clinically relevant increase in the intervention group was found for 36% in flexion (P ≤ 0.05) and 57% in external rotation (P ≤ 0.05) compared with controls. Conclusions: This study shows that water-based exercise is feasible for breast cancer survivors with arm lymphedema and that shoulder range of motion can be improved years after cancer treatment has been completed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)312-319
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Volume92
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 4 2013

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Lymphedema
Articular Range of Motion
Arm
Randomized Controlled Trials
Exercise
Water
Survivors
Breast Neoplasms
Dielectric Spectroscopy
Control Groups
Neoplasms

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation

Cite this

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title = "Water-based exercise for patients with chronic arm lymphedema: A randomized controlled pilot trial",
abstract = "Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the feasibility and effect of a water-based exercise program on lymphedema status and shoulder range of motion among women with breast cancer-related lymphedema. Design: This was a single-blinded, randomized controlled pilot trial. Twenty-nine eligible breast cancer survivors (median, 10 yrs after surgery) with arm lymphedema (median, 21{\%} interlimb difference) were included and randomized into the intervention (n = 15) or control (n = 14) group. Twenty-five participants completed the study. The intervention was at least twice-weekly water-based exercise for 8 wks, initially supervised but performed independently during the study period. Outcomes of interest were feasibility as measured by retention and adherence; lymphedema status as measured by optoelectronic perometry, bioimpedance spectroscopy, and tissue dielectric constant; and shoulder range of motion as measured by goniometer. Results: Four participants were not measured at postintervention and were not included in the analysis (retention). Four participants in the intervention group did not perform the minimum water-based exercise criteria set (adherence). No effect was found on lymphedema status. Compared with the control group, median range of motion change for flexion was 6 (1-10) degrees (P < 0.001) and 6 (0-15.5) degrees (P = 0.07) for external rotation. A clinically relevant increase in the intervention group was found for 36{\%} in flexion (P ≤ 0.05) and 57{\%} in external rotation (P ≤ 0.05) compared with controls. Conclusions: This study shows that water-based exercise is feasible for breast cancer survivors with arm lymphedema and that shoulder range of motion can be improved years after cancer treatment has been completed.",
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Water-based exercise for patients with chronic arm lymphedema : A randomized controlled pilot trial. / Johansson, Karin; Hayes, Sandi; Speck, Rebecca M.; Schmitz, Kathryn H.

In: American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Vol. 92, No. 4, 04.02.2013, p. 312-319.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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