The International Lymphedema Framework developed an international study, Lymphedema Impact and Prevalence International (LIMPRINT), to estimate the prevalence and impact of chronic edema (CO) in heterogeneous populations.
A validation study using the LIMPRINT methodology was undertaken in Denmark. Participants with CO were identified from inpatient services and compared with those identified within a specialist lymphedema service and three primary care settings. Of 452 inpatients available for screening, CO was present in 177 (39%) and absent in 275 (61%). In addition, 723 participants were found from specialist and primary care services (LPCSs). Inpatients were significantly older and more likely to be underweight or normal weight. They were more likely to suffer from heart failure/ischaemic heart disease (44.6% vs. 23.4%, p < 0.001) and have neurological problems (18.1% vs. 10.9% p = 0.009). Patients in the inpatient group were nearly all suffering from secondary lymphedema and were less likely to have a cancer or venous diagnosis, but more likely to have immobility as the cause of CO (44.0% vs. 17.7%, p < 0.001). No inpatients had midline CO compared with 30 within LPCSs. Fewer in the inpatient group had standard CO treatment (17.1% vs. 73.5%, p < 0.001) and subjective control of swelling was worse (19.9% vs. 66.7%, p < 0.001). While the inpatient group experienced fewer acute infections, when they did so, they were more likely to be admitted to hospital for this (78.6% vs. 51.0%, p = 0.049).
The prevalence of CO in inpatient facilities is high and those with CO have multiple comorbidities that vary according to setting. The feasibility study showed that the methodology could be adapted for use in different health systems.