The article by Zaleska, Olszewski, and Durlik is focused on the exploration of the practical benefits of the use of mechanical devices for pneumatic compression (IPC).1 Such devices are a technology that was designed to replace the manual lymphatic drainage in patients with lower limb lymphedema. The manual drainage is an effective method that is, unfortunately, unavailable to millions of patients all around the globe. As a solution, low-cost mechanical devices that perform the same function can be used as an alternative.
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This research is important to Physical Therapy Assistants because it helps to improve their cost-efficiency by adding a function that was unavailable previously. This way, Physical Therapy Assistants become capable of helping more patients affected by lower limb lymphedema. This is a significant breakthrough for the field of physical therapy in terms of service effectiveness and patient satisfaction. As the findings of Zaleska et al. show, IPC devices are just as effective and useful as manual lymph drainage techniques.2 The major benefit of the use of mechanical devices is that it does not require much participation of a physical therapist. The purpose of this study was to assess the effectiveness of IPC devices as an alternative to manual lymph drainage.
The major strength of this research was its relatively lengthy period of measures. Namely, the project took about three years, which adds to its validity. Also, the authors supported their findings by correlating them with those of previous projects. This way, the reliability of this research is strengthened as well. At the same time, the main weakness of the study under discussion is the lack of long-term measures and follow-up steps. Practically, the use of IPC devices proved to be effective in terms of lymph drainage, tissue elasticity, and the prevention of tissue changes resulting from fluid evacuation procedures.
Zaleska M, Olszewski W, Durlik M. The effectiveness of intermittent pneumatic compression in long-term therapy of lymphedema of lower limbs. Lymphat Res Biol. 2014;12(2):103-109.