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The frequency of lymphedema in an adult spina bifida population

Garcia, AM and Dicianno, BE (2011) The frequency of lymphedema in an adult spina bifida population. American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 90 (2). 89 - 96. ISSN 0894-9115

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Objective: In the United States, there are more than 100,000 people with spina bifida. There have been very few studies to date documenting the occurrence of lymphedema in the spina bifida population, despite a case series in 2001 that suggested that the occurrence may be higher than in the general population. Currently, approximately 1 million people have lymphedema in the United States. The purpose of this study was to document the occurrence of lymphedema and associated medical factors in a regional adult spina bifida population. Design: A total of 240 electronic medical records from the Adult Spina Bifida Clinic from January 2005 to August 2008 were retrospectively reviewed. Subjects were divided into two groups based on the presence or absence of lymphedema. χ2 analyses were used to compare lymphedema groups with respect to history of medical comorbidities and ethnicity. Fisher exact tests were used to compare groups with respect to mobility status and the presence of power wheelchair seat functions. Mann-Whitney U tests were used to compare groups with respect to age, anatomic lesion level, employment level, and income. Results: Twenty-two (9.2%) patients had lymphedema. Mean ± SD population age was 35.1 ± 11.1 yrs. Lymphedema was associated with a history of trauma (P = 0.044), cellulitis (P < 0.001), cancer (P = 0.038), obesity (P < 0.001), wounds (P < 0.001), hypertension (P = 0.036), higher lesion level spina bifida (P = 0.049), and mobility status (P = 0.007). Hypertension and obesity were present in 38.3% and 37.5% of the total study population, respectively. Conclusions: This is the first study to document the occurrence of lymphedema in a spina bifida patient population, which was almost 100 times higher than that in the general patient population. We also documented a high occurrence of hypertension and obesity in the total study population. These findings may help guide further prospective studies to more clearly delineate the risk factors for the development of lymphedema and to determine the appropriate therapies. Better screening, prevention and treatment algorithms are needed for hypertension and obesity in the spina bifida population. Copyright © 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.


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Item Type: Article
Status: Published
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Garcia, AMamg207@pitt.eduAMG207
Dicianno, BEdicianno@pitt.eduDICIANNO0000-0003-0738-0192
Centers: Other Centers, Institutes, Offices, or Units > Human Engineering Research Laboratories
Date: 1 February 2011
Date Type: Publication
Journal or Publication Title: American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Volume: 90
Number: 2
Page Range: 89 - 96
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1097/phm.0b013e318201753e
Schools and Programs: School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences > Rehabilitation Science and Technology
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 0894-9115
MeSH Headings: Adult; Cellulitis--epidemiology; Female; Humans; Hypertension--epidemiology; Lymphedema--epidemiology; Male; Neoplasms--epidemiology; Obesity--epidemiology; Retrospective Studies; Spinal Dysraphism--epidemiology; Wheelchairs; Wounds and Injuries--epidemiology
PubMed ID: 21173682
Date Deposited: 04 Oct 2012 13:55
Last Modified: 22 Jun 2021 15:55


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