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Frequently asked questions

What is the importance of gradient?

Gradient means that the pressure is higher in the distal part of the limb and decreases per chamber as it moves proximal to the body.  Sequential pumps with calibrated gradient pressure have proven to be the best devices for reducing the amount of excess lymphatic fluid in a limb in a comfortable and efficient manner. These pumps function in much the same manner as the body does when it utilizes its own “muscle pump.” The body uses various muscle groups to move the lymphatic fluid through the channels.

How do I set the pressure on the pump?

Some of our pumps have how to video, others treatment plans.
Suggested protocols have been provided with your pump. Follow these suggestions unless otherwise directed by your physician or therapist. Should you reach a plateau in your treatment and feel as though you are not achieving further reduction, decrease the pressure and monitor your progress. It is possible that you may be using too much pressure.

What to do when treating ulcers and open wounds?

The pump can be used on patients with venous ulcers and/or open wounds as long as there are no signs of an untreated infection/cellulitis. If you have cellulitis, you can use the pump once antibiotics have been administered for at least 72 hours. Signs and symptoms for infection are an abnormal sensation of heat in extremity, a rash, red streaks, pain, or fever. If one or more of these symptoms occur while you are under compression therapy treatment, discontinue your treatment and contact your physician. Wounds must be covered with the appropriate dressings, and it is recommended that daily dressing changes be ordered. You should clean and change your dressing immediately following your treatment with the pump. Wounds will drain significantly during pump therapy; this is normal.

How important is hygiene for lymphedema patients?

The patient must be taught meticulous skin care, especially with the edematous limb. Because of the increased fluid levels under the skin, the skin is much more susceptible to rips and tears than non-edematous skin. Any breakdown in the integrity of the skin results in susceptibility to bacteria, infection, and cellulitis, the most serious of complications facing the patient. Teach the patient to treat all cuts, burns and bruises, hangnails, ingrown toenails, ingrown hairs, razor rashes, blisters, scrapes, mosquito bites, etc., as potential sites for infection.
Should the patient notice any signs or symptoms of infection or cellulitis they should contact their doctor immediately. Delay in treatment will enable the infection to spread to other areas throughout the body.

Can the pump be used by pregnant women?

Some pregnant women will develop lymphedema lasting the entire term of their pregnancy, which disappears when the baby is born. However, others can continue to have a problem with edema even after delivery. The patient should wear compression pantyhose and elevate their limbs as often as possible. Using a pump during pregnancy has been proven effective. The pressures for the pump are set according to the protocols used for primary lymphedema.

Can a patient still receive a pump if they have CHF?

Active Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) is a contraindication for a compression pump. However, some doctors will prescribe compression therapy for a patient with a history of CHF when the disease is not in an active state. The physician should be asked whether the patient’s CHF is well controlled. If the condition is well controlled, compression therapy is beneficial. Remember to have the patient in a sitting position while using the compression therapy pump. Teach the patient to monitor themself for any problems, including shortness of breath or chest pain. Should they experience any of these symptoms they should immediately stop their therapy and contact their physician.

Can a patient with a DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) receive a pump?

A patient with an active DVT is not an appropriate candidate for a compression pump. However, if the patient has had a DVT and it is resolved, they are a candidate for a compression pump. DVTs are often prevented with the use of compression therapy. It is always a good idea to make the physician aware that an active DVT is a contraindication. Request a copy of the last Doppler (within six months) for your records.
There has also been some question about using compression therapy with patients who have a history of DVTs and who have filters. These patients are also candidates for compression therapy, with the same conditions as stated above and with lower compression used during therapy. The only difference would be the physician will generally use less compression for treatment. Teach the patient the signs and symptoms of an active DVT. If it hurts, something is wrong. Stop and contact your physician.

Can a patient use a pump over a multi-layer bandage system?

Yes, a patient can use a pump over a multi-layer bandage system.

How does the process of getting a compression device work?

The first step is to contact TCP and complete the intake forms. Within 24 hours of us receiving your paperwork, we will fax your doctor’s office the insurance required paperwork and start an authorization with your insurance company. We work quickly to get you your pump as soon as possible, however, it depends on your doctor’s office and insurance company as well. We do stay on top of both your doctor and insurance company to ensure expediency.

Is a Compression Pump covered by Medicare?

Yes. Your compression pump is covered by most medical insurances, including Medicare, as long as your treatments and symptoms qualify, and your physician completes the Medicare required paperwork.

Traveling tips for your pumps

  • When traveling with your pump it is recommended that you pack your pump in either a small suitcase or small duffel bag with some type of protective padding.
  • We suggest using foam padding or bubble wrap, which you can purchase from any local arts and craft store.
  • It is imperative that the entire pump is completely wrapped so it will not be damaged during travel.
  • We advise that you place a visible tag or label on the suitcase or bag, stating “Handle with Care, Medical Equipment.”
  • We can provide you with some literature explaining what the pump is used for in the event that airport security has questions pertaining to the pump. Contact us at least 14 days prior to your departure date and we’ll be happy to mail the appropriate information to you.
  • It is completely safe for any pump to go through the X-ray machines at the airport.