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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 53

of 'Clinical features and diagnosis of peripheral lymphedema'

Reliability and limits of agreement of circumferential, water displacement, and optoelectronic volumetry in the measurement of upper limb lymphedema.
Deltombe T, Jamart J, Recloux S, Legrand C, Vandenbroeck N, Theys S, Hanson P
Lymphology. 2007;40(1):26.
We conducted a reliability comparison study to determine the intrarater and inter-rater reliability and the limits of agreement of the volume estimated by circumferential measurements using the frustum sign method and the disk model method, by water displacement volumetry, and by infrared optoelectronic volumetry in the assessment of upper limb lymphedema. Thirty women with lymphedema following axillary lymph node dissection surgery for breast cancer surgery were enrolled. In each patient, the volumes of the upper limbs were estimated by three physical therapists using circumference measurements, water displacement and optoelectronic volumetry. One of the physical therapists performed each measure twice. Intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs), relative differences, and limits of agreement were determined. Intrarater and interrater reliability ICCs ranged from 0.94 to 1. Intrarater relative differences were 1.9% for the disk model method, 3.2% for the frustum sign model method, 2.9% for water displacement volumetry, and 1.5% for optoelectronic volumetry. Intrarater reliability was always better than interrater, except for the optoelectronic method. Intrarater and interrater limits of agreement were calculated for each technique. The disk model method andoptoelectronic volumetry had better reliability than the frustum sign method and water displacement volumetry, which is usually considered to be the gold standard. In terms of low-cost, simplicity, and reliability, we recommend the disk model method as the method of choice in clinical practice. Since intrarater reliability was always better than interrater reliability (except for optoelectronic volumetry), patients should therefore, ideally, always be evaluated by the same therapist. Additionally, the limits of agreement must be taken into account when determining the response of a patient to treatment.
Department of Physical Medicine, UniversitéCatholique de Louvain, Cliniques Universitaires de Mont-Godinne, Yvoir, Belgium. Thierry.Deltombe@uclouvain.be