Manual lymphatic drainage and quality of life in patients with lymphoedema and mixed oedema: a systematic review of randomised controlled trials.

Müller, Martin; Klingberg, Karsten; Wertli, Maria Monika; Carreira, Helena (2018). Manual lymphatic drainage and quality of life in patients with lymphoedema and mixed oedema: a systematic review of randomised controlled trials. Quality of life research, 27(6), pp. 1403-1414. Springer 10.1007/s11136-018-1796-5

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PURPOSE To assess the impact of manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) on the health-related quality of life (HRQoL) of adults with lymphoedema or mixed oedema, through a systematic review of randomised controlled trials (RCTs). METHODS MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, CENTRAL, the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews and were searched to identify RCTs evaluating HRQoL after a MLD intervention compared to non-MLD interventions (PROSPERO 2016:CRD42016042255). We extracted the effect of the interventions on the HRQoL (primary outcome) as well as data on volume and functional changes, and adverse events when available (secondary outcomes). RESULTS Eight studies were eligible. The studies were heterogeneous in the aetiology of oedema, schemes of MLD applied, additional treatments offered with MLD, length of follow-up, instruments used to assess HRQoL and interventions offered to the control group. Five studies included patients with breast cancer-related arm lymphoedema; one study reported increased HRQoL among patients randomised to the MLD group. The two RCTs that involved patients with leg mixed oedema due to chronic venous insufficiency did not find between-group differences in the overall HRQoL. One trial included patients with hand oedema from systemic sclerosis and showed higher HRQoL in the group that received MLD. No studies reported reductions in HRQoL, or severe adverse events after MLD. The small numbers of patients analysed in all studies may have resulted in lack of power to detect between-group differences in HRQoL. CONCLUSIONS The effect of MLD on the HRQoL of patients with chronic oedema is unclear.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Review Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of General Internal Medicine (DAIM) > Clinic of General Internal Medicine
04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Intensive Care, Emergency Medicine and Anaesthesiology (DINA) > University Emergency Center

UniBE Contributor:

Müller, Martin and Wertli, Maria Monika


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health








Christine Baumgartner

Date Deposited:

14 Feb 2019 10:20

Last Modified:

24 Oct 2019 08:50

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Edema Musculoskeletal manipulations Quality of life Review Systematic




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