Link between obesity and lower-extremity lymphedema explored

Share this content:
Link Between Obesity and Lower-Extremity Lymphedema Explored
Link Between Obesity and Lower-Extremity Lymphedema Explored

(HealthDay News) -- Lower-extremity lymphedema may be due to extreme obesity, as there appears to be a body mass index (BMI) threshold above which lymphatic flow becomes impaired, according to a letter to the editor published in the May 31 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Arin K. Greene, M.D., from the Children's Hospital Boston, and colleagues reviewed data from 15 obese patients with bilateral lower-extremity enlargement, to identify the role of obesity in lymphedema. The patients underwent lymphoscintigraphy, reported to be 100 percent specific and 92 percent sensitive for lymphedema.

The researchers identified abnormal results for five patients on lymphoscintigraphy; the results showed impaired lymphatic function consistent with lymphedema. The patients with lymphedema had a significantly greater average BMI than those without lymphedema (70.1 versus 42.0 kg/m²). All patients with a BMI higher than 59 kg/m² had lymphedema, while lymphatic function was normal for all those with a BMI below 54 kg/m².

"Our findings suggest that obesity, which affects one-third of the population in the United States, may be a cause of lower-extremity lymphedema. As BMI increases, there might be a threshold above which lymphatic flow becomes impaired," the authors write. "Although lymphedema is typically progressive, we speculate that major weight loss (e.g., after a bariatric procedure) might reverse lymphatic insufficiency in obese patients with this condition."

Full Text

You must be a registered member of ONA to post a comment.

Sign Up for Free e-newsletters

Regimen and Drug Listings


Bone Cancer Regimens Drugs
Brain Cancer Regimens Drugs
Breast Cancer Regimens Drugs
Endocrine Cancer Regimens Drugs
Gastrointestinal Cancer Regimens Drugs
Genitourinary Cancer Regimens Drugs
Gynecologic Cancer Regimens Drugs
Head and Neck Cancer Regimens Drugs
Hematologic Cancer Regimens Drugs
Lung Cancer Regimens Drugs
Other Cancers Regimens
Rare Cancers Regimens
Skin Cancer Regimens Drugs