Efficacy and Feasibility of Short-Stretch Compression Therapy for Filarial Lymphedema in Sri Lanka

Jaimee M. Hall, Nirmitha Lalindi De Silva, Janaka Ruben, Sandani S. Thilakarathne, Thishan Channa Yahathugoda, Philip J. Budge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The WHO-recommended essential package of care (EPC) for filarial limb lymphedema consists of daily limb washing, entry lesion management, limb protection, exercises, and elevation. Decongestive therapy (DT) with compression bandaging by trained lymphedema therapists adds additional benefit but is unavailable for most in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). To determine whether DT using self-adjustable, short-stretch compression garments (SSCG), prefitted using portable, three-dimensional infrared imaging (3DII), would be effective and feasible in LMIC settings, we conducted a pilot 6-week, interventional, single-group, open-label pilot study in Galle, Sri Lanka. Ten participants with Dreyer stage 3 lymphedema used SSCG for 2 weeks after a 4-week lead-in EPC period. Effect of EPC and compression on quality of life was assessed using the 12-item WHO Disability Assessment Schedule 2.0 (WHODAS 2.0). Median participant age was 73 years (range: 32–85 years). Median percent limb volume reduction due to compression was 11.3% (range: 1.1–27.2%). WHODAS 2.0 scores did not change significantly between enrollment and study end. Garment acceptability was high throughout the study. These results provide proof of concept for 3DII-enabled SSCG in LMICs where trained therapists for filarial lymphedema may not be available.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)936-942
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2024


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