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Eur J Cardiovasc Nurs. 2009 Dec;8(5):345-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ejcnurse.2009.07.001. Epub 2009 Sep 2.

Feasibility of treatment of lower limb edema with calf muscle pump stimulation in chronic heart failure.

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Decker School of Nursing, Binghamton University, Binghamton, NY 13902-6000, USA.



Persons with chronic heart failure may exhibit a decrease in functional ability related to lower extremity edema in spite of optimal diuretic therapy and salt restrictions.


The aim of this pilot prospective clinical study was to test the feasibility of using exogenous calf muscle pump stimulation to decrease lower leg edema and thus improve functional status and quality of life.


Six subjects entered into this study and agreed to use the intervention 30 min/day for one month. DXA was used to assess lower extremity composition.


Device use averaged approximately 1 h/day and resulted in a reduction in the lean mass of the legs of 0.5 kg (range = 0.08-1.0 L; p = 0.03). Linear regression analysis of reduction of lower limb edema against daily usage suggests that increased utilization of calf muscle pump stimulation was associated with increased water losses, although this trend was not significant (R(2 = 0.4, p = 0.18).


This pilot indicates that exogenous calf muscle pump stimulation could be a useful and safe addition to the patients' treatment regimes, but further studies testing a more typical population with heart failure is warranted.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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