View Full Version : Diagnosing Chest LE
Oct 31, 2004, 06:16 AM
Can you tell me how LE is definitively diagnosed? If I did go in, would an ultrasound or an MRI be sufficient to differentiate between LE and a tumor or would a biopsy be the standard way?
I know you may not know the answers to these questions, but any info would be greatly appreciated.
Oct 31, 2004, 12:19 PM
Thanks for writing with your question. There is no definitive test for diagnosing lymphedema, it is typically diagnosed based on the physical history and presentation of your symptoms. Typical lymphedema presentation is swelling that starts as intermittent (it comes and goes, is better with the body part elevated) and then gradually progresses to being there all the time. Distal areas (farthest away from the heart) usually show swelling first and then swelling progresses closer to the body. Many people say lymphedema is painless but in my experience most people experience at least some discomfort from carrying around a swollen body part! I've heard of aching, burning, soreness associated with swelling. Lymphedema, in early stages, is typically soft, and if you press into the swollen area your finger leaves a "pit" or indentation that lasts for several minutes.
The importance of any diagnostic testing at this point would be to rule out anything more serious than lymphedema. The test for a blood clot is a doppler ultrasound which is quick and painless and gives quick results. If some type of growth is suspected your doctor will usually opt to do an MRI/CT Scan/Bone Scan first and then based on their findings they may want to do a biopsy.
In one of your initial posts you mentioned that you have aching/pain in your hand along with the swelling in your chest. Sometimes this type of aching can be caused by a lack of blood flow to your hand because something is obstructing the blood vessels in your chest/shoulder. This, along with the fact that the swelling came on quickly is what led me to think that you might have some type of blockage in the chest that is causing the symptoms.
Ok, so the short answer is that I think if you go to the doctor they will first do an ultrasound and/or an MRI/CT scan to rule out any obstruction in your chest. If they are able to rule out an obsturction then I think it is safe for you to pursue lymphedema treatment for the swelling in your chest, including compression.
Again I'm sorry if I sound like an alarmist but I want to make sure we are dealing with your problem from the perspective of a logical treatment sequence. This is exactly the same advice I would give you if I could see you in person! Please don't hesitate to write back with any other questions and again you may email me privately if you'd like at Christine@oasis-therapies.com
Nov 1, 2004, 09:09 AM
Thank you for your thoughtful, detailed reply.
I guess it really doesn't sound as though this is likely LE. I will continue working very hard and I'll keep you posted on any developments.
Thanks for your concern and support.
Nov 1, 2004, 05:11 PM
I'm glad the info was helpful and thank you for posting your questions for others to read. Again if you need help finding any type of specialist in your area I'd be happy to try to assist you. I want you to get this checked and rule out all the "big" things so we can get you on the right track to feeling better.
Nov 5, 2004, 09:19 AM
Just wondering how you're doing. Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers, and looking forward to hearing from you,
Nov 8, 2004, 12:49 PM
Thanks for thinking of me, you're a sweetie. I'm doing good. No change in the lump and I haven't gone in - but I'm plugging along :)
Thanks for your thoughts and prayers. I do keep you in mine as well. If and when I get some resolution, I will certainly let you know.
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