Two Pneumatic Compression Devices in the Treatment of Lower Extremity Lymphedema


The treatment of lymphedema has been a major focus of attention for physicians and scientists for several decades. At this time, no successful techniques have been developed to prevent lymphedema, and therefore, a great deal of emphasis is placed on treatment modalities that can lessen the severity and impede the progression of this debilitating condition.

The treatment on offer usually consists of a maintenance phase using compression garments and an intensive treatment phase, which includes the use of skin care, compression bandaging, exercise and manual lymphatic drainage (MLD). The intensive phase is usually described as complex decongestive therapy (CDT). This is time consuming and requires high resource usage. Pneumatic compression devices (PCD) offer and alternative to MLD and can be used by the patient. There are a number of devices on the market that are categorized into 1. without calibrated gradient compression 2. With calibrated gradient compression.

This trial will compare two PCDs, a simple device without calibrated compression, and an advanced device with calibrated compression, in the reduction of swelling and maintenance of reduced limb volume in 262 patients with lower limb lymphoedema. The primary end point will be limb volume reduction over 12 weeks of treatment, with secondary outcome after 24 weeks.

Full Title of Study: “At Home Evaluation of Two Pneumatic Compression Devices in the Treatment of Lower Extremity Lymphoedema(ACE: At Home Compression Evaluation)”

Study Type

  • Study Type: Interventional
  • Study Design
    • Allocation: Randomized
    • Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
    • Primary Purpose: Treatment
    • Masking: Single (Outcomes Assessor)
  • Study Primary Completion Date: July 2020

Detailed Description

This is a Multicentre, prospective, single (assessor) blind randomised study. The primary objective of the study is to assess volume reduction in the treatment of lymphoedematous legs with an advanced PCD compared to a simple PCD in patients with lower limb lymphoedema. The main outcome is the percentage volume reduction of the affected limb at end of treatment compared to baseline.

Secondary objectives of the study are Assessment of safety Quality of life Health economic parameters

In total 262 patients with leg lymphoedema will be enrolled into the study. Patients eligible for the study are those who suffer from late stage II and stage III according to the International Society of Lymphology lymphoedema staging. Lymphoedematous legs can be of primary or secondary origin and uni or bilaterally affected. Medical history will be taken at baseline.

Patients will be taught how to use the device they have been randomised to. Visits will then take place at weeks 1,4,8,12 and 24 weeks. The device will be used for up to 60 minutes each day on the trial limb. At each visit sequential circumferences of the affected and unaffected limbs will be measured with a tape measure.

All adverse events will be documented. At beginning and end of study quality of life questionnaires and health economic information will be completed by the patients.

At the Derby site assessment of tissue quality will be made using ultrasound and moisture meter to assess tissue fluid.


  • Device: Flexitouch System
    • A segmental, programmable, gradient pneumatic compression device. It consists of a controller and garment set. The garments are constructed of nylon and have 27-32 chambers, depending upon garment size. The pressure setting is variable between “normal” and “increased.” The device is intended to be used for 60 minutes per day
  • Device: Hydroven FPR
    • The FH is an intermittent sequential external pneumatic compression system. The garment contains 3 compression chambers. The pressure range of the compressor device is 30-100 mmHg. It is intended to be used for 60 minutes per day.

Arms, Groups and Cohorts

  • Experimental: Advanced PCD
    • The use of an advanced PCD device to reduce and maintain limb volume
  • Active Comparator: Simple PCD
    • The use of the Simple PCD is to reduce and maintain limb volume

Clinical Trial Outcome Measures

Primary Measures

  • limb volume change after 12 weeks of treatment
    • Time Frame: 12 weeks
    • Limb volume as assessed by tape measure at 4 cm intervals up the limb. Volume calculated by assuming a truncated cone for each section of the limb.

Secondary Measures

  • Adverse events
    • Time Frame: Up to 24 weeks of treatment
    • Adverse and serious adverse events will be recorded for patients for the duration of their participation in the trial

Participating in This Clinical Trial

Inclusion Criteria

  • Subjects must be ≥ 18 years old or legal age in host country.
  • Subjects must have a diagnosis of primary or secondary late Stage 2 or 3 unilateral or bilateral lower extremity lymphoedema.
  • At time of initial evaluation, individuals must be at least 3 months post-surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiation treatment for cancer if applicable.
  • If subjects were treated in a clinic setting for lymphoedema (Phase 1 treatment) they must be at least 3 months post completion of their acute care.

Exclusion Criteria

  • Diagnosis of active or recurrent cancer, or less than 3 months at the time of initial evaluation from the completion of chemotherapy, radiation therapy or primary surgery for the treatment of cancer.
  • Diagnosis of acute infection. The source of the infection must be treated for 2 weeks prior to admittance into the study.
  • Diagnosis of acute thrombophlebitis (in last 2 months)
  • Diagnosis of peripheral arterial disease (PAD): PAD is defined as an Ankle Brachial Index (ABI), of 0.7 or lower.
  • Diagnosis of pulmonary embolism or deep vein thrombosis within the previous 6 months
  • Diagnosis of pulmonary edema
  • Diagnosis of congestive heart failure (uncontrolled)
  • Diagnosis of chronic kidney disease with a Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR) of less than 30 mls per minute.
  • Patients with poorly controlled asthma (i.e. those with severe persistent symptoms throughout the day, night time awakenings several times per week, use of a beta2 agonist inhaler several times per day and those whose normal activity is extremely limited).
  • Pregnancy
  • Any condition where increased venous and lymphatic return is undesirable
  • Inability or unwillingness to participate in all aspects of study protocol and/or inability to provide informed consent
  • Currently participating in another clinical trial

Gender Eligibility: All

Minimum Age: 18 Years

Maximum Age: N/A

Are Healthy Volunteers Accepted: No

Investigator Details

  • Lead Sponsor
    • Tactile Medical
  • Provider of Information About this Clinical Study
    • Sponsor
  • Overall Official(s)
    • Christine J Moffatt, RN PhD, Study Chair, Nottingham Trent University
    • Vaughan Keeley, MD, Study Director, Derby Hospitals NHS Trust
    • Margaret Sneddon, RGN, Principal Investigator, University of Glasgow
    • Peter J Franks, PhD, Principal Investigator, Tactile Medical
  • Overall Contact(s)
    • Christine J Moffatt, RGN PhD, 01332 340131,

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