Content » Vol 49, Issue 1

Original report

Influence of arm crank ergometry on development of lymphedema in breast cancer patients after axillary dissection: A randomized controlled trail

Thorsten Schmidt, Jette Berner, Walter Jonat, Burkhard Weisser, Christioph Röcken, Marion van Mackelenbergh, Christoph Mundhenke
Comprehensive Cancer Center North, University of Kiel, 24105 Kiel, Germany. E-mail:
DOI: 10.2340/16501977-2167


Objective: To investigate the safety and efficacy of arm crank ergometry in breast cancer patients after axillary lymph node dissection, with regard to changes in bioelectrical impedance analysis, arm circumference, muscular strength, quality of life and fatigue.
Design: Randomized controlled clinical intervention trial.
Subjects: Forty-nine patients with breast cancer after axillary lymph node dissection.
Methods: Arm crank ergometer training twice-weekly was compared with usual care over 12 weeks.
Results: The arm crank ergometer group improved significantly in terms of lean body mass and skeletal muscle mass, and showed a significant decrease in body fat. In the arm crank ergometer group, as well as the usual care group, a significant increase in armpit circumference was detected during the training period. The magnitude of the gain was higher in the usual care group. For all other measured regions of the arm a significant decrease in circumference was seen in both groups. Muscular strength of the upper extremity increased significantly in both groups, with a greater improvement in the arm crank ergometer group. In both groups a non-significant trend towards improvement in quality of life was observed. The arm crank ergometer group showed significant improvements in physical functioning, general fatigue and physical fatigue.
Conclusion: These results confirm the feasibility of arm crank ergometer training after axillary lymph node dissection and highlight improvements in strength, quality of life and reduced arm symptoms with this training.

Lay Abstract


Do you want to comment on this paper? The comments will show up here and if appropriate the comments will also separately be forwarded to the authors. You need to login/create an account to comment on articles. Click here to login/create an account.