Cellulitis Complicating Lymphoedema

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Abstract

 In ten hospitalised patients with cellulitis complicating lymphoedema encountered over a 3-year period (1996–1998), the underlying diseases were carcinoma of the cervix (n=4), uterus (n=1), vagina (n=1), breast (n=2) and nasopharynx (n=1), and retroperitoneal squamous cell carcinoma (n=1). Three of the ten patients had positive blood cultures, compared to none of the 20 age-matched, sex-matched controls hospitalised for cellulitis without lymphoedema. The mean duration of fever, tachycardia and cellulitis was significantly longer in patients with lymphoedema than in those without (P<0.05, P<0.05, and P<0.005 respectively). Early treatment initiated by patients themselves may help stop bacterial replication in the initial stages and minimise further damage to the lymphatic system.