People who have lymphedema, a health disorder caused by the lymph node’s inability to drain fluid in the tissues, sometimes need a compression pump.
Part of treating lymphedema, especially lymphedema of the leg, may involve therapy with a pump. One brand is called the Lympha Press. The person with lymphedema puts a sleeve on the leg and hooks the sleeve to a plastic tube, which connects to the pump. Then the pump squeezes and releases the sleeve – kind of like a blood pressure cuff. This process encourages the flow of fluid in the leg so it can be removed from the body through urine.
If you use a pump in the hospital, you may need a catheter to collect your urine because you won’t be able to move easily while wearing the sleeve and because the process creates lots of urine. Your nurse may check how much urine you’re producing to see how well the compression pump treatments are working.
You may also need to buy compression stockings to wear when you’re not using your pump.
A physical therapist or nurse can help you learn how to use a pump at home.
Each compression session lasts 2 hours. You may do up to 3 or 4 sessions daily. You may need to do one leg first, then the other. Your nurse, doctor or physical therapist will tell you which pressure setting to use.
To use the pump, put it on a flat surface. Put on the protective stockinette, with the sleeve over top of it. Attach the hoses to the leg sleeve – hose #1 should attach at the foot, followed by #2, etc., until you get to #12 at the top of your leg. Prop your feet on a pillow or blanket so your toes are above your knees. Now connect the hoses to the pump and tighten them. Turn the pump on, and ensure the pressure is at the correct level.
If you have to do both legs, repeat the steps once your treatment time is up.
If you develop problems like chest pain, a fever, chills, drainage from your wound or you feel short of breath, give your doctor a call.