The Impact of COVID-19 Lockdown on Patients with Lymphedema

Lymphat Res Biol. 2022 Oct;20(5):533-538. doi: 10.1089/lrb.2021.0070. Epub 2022 Jan 12.


Background: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic poses a challenge to management of lymphedema. The aim of this study was to assess general health conditions and evaluate the problems and concerns of lymphedema patients with regard to access to care and provision of management and control follow-ups during the lockdown period between March and June 2020. Methods: A web-based online survey, which included questions about demographic and clinical properties, compliance with restrictions and self-management, complications, needs, and difficulties in accessing health care, as well as the presence of psychological symptoms, was applied. Results: Two hundred three patients (190 female and 13 male) replied. Majority of them (73.4%) were between 30 and 60 years old and had high school/university education (67%). The duration of lymphedema was more than 3 years and sites were commonly extremities with mild to moderate intensity in 70.5% patients. Majority of them adhered to stay home warnings (88.7%). Weight gain was a common problem and self-care methods were generally skipped (81.8%). Seventeen percent of them had wounds and/or cellulitis. Forty percent of patients needed to apply to health centers to renew the pressure garment, but could not reach it. More than 70% of patients had sleep disorders and anxiety/stress. Majority of patients used television and social media to get information related to COVID-19 and the exposure time was commonly 2 to 6 hours. Conclusions: The COVID-19 lockdown had a great impact on lymphedema patients' health care not only from medical but also from psychosocial aspects. All these implications have to be identified and dealt with properly to avoid concerns and consequences of future pandemic lockdowns. Lymphedema services should be well prepared to be delivered virtually, enable effective care, and share knowledge to meet the needs of patients suffering from lymphedema.

Keywords: COVID-19; access to care; impact; lock down; lymphedema.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • COVID-19*
  • Communicable Disease Control
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lymphedema* / diagnosis
  • Lymphedema* / epidemiology
  • Lymphedema* / etiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pandemics
  • Surveys and Questionnaires