Hilotherapy

for Arthritis and Rheumatology

The cold therapy, cryotherapy, plays an integral role in orthopaedics, traumatology and rheumatology, particularly in the postoperative period after joint surgery but may be considered for patients with rheumatoid arthritis to provide pain relief and reduce swelling. Hilotherapy is the optimal form of cryotherapy, allowing precise temperature control and consistent targeted delivery to the site of treatment.

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Device supported cryotherapy with a water sleeve system - Hilotherm

P. Keysser, M. Reingen, T. Mrkackova, N. Walter (VSOU, 2012) - Observational Study

Background

In older patients in particular, e.g. with polyneuropathy, conventional cryotherapy measures using ice bags, "Cryo-Cuff" or so-called cold packs are often problematic, since improper application may result in anything from cold damage to the formation of necrosis.

Another common problem emerges with application due to using leaking ice water bags or slippage of the cold packs, which increases the strain on nursing staff.

Method

192 therapeutic applications were standardised and recorded via questionnaire.

The therapy was administered in a standardised form for 20 minutes at a temperature of 10-15°C.

Corresponding sleeves were used, depending on the area of application.

The therapy was applied with the following indications:

  • Knee prosthesis operations
  • Post-traumatic states
  • Shoulder operations
  • Applications for the hands and feet of rheumatic patients

Results

In 164 cases, pain intensities were reportedly lower after the therapy than before it.

The average pain intensity on a visual analogue scale declined from 4.9 before the first therapy to 1.6 after the final therapy.

Throughout the entire observation period no complications or incompatibilities were observed.

No patient was forced to abandon the cold therapy due to intensified discomfort.

Quotes from the individual feedback from patients

  • “Very pleasant, I don’t need any more painkillers."
  • “Redness and excessive warmth on the left declining, pains also subsiding."
  • “Redness easing, but knee still overheated."
  • “The cold is very soothing in countering the ever-present swelling."
  • “I don’t need any more painkilling drip."
  • “With a motorized sleeve and the cooling device, the hematoma can be eliminated more rapidly."
  • "Pain relief around 20 minutes after the cold is applied."
  • “Although the cold sensation was unpleasant at first, it improved later."

Management Evalutation

  • Relieves the burden on nursing staff
  • No fridge needed to store ice bags/packs
  • No cold packs/ice bags
  • Can be used for WL patients (GOÄ 53)
  • "KTL-compatible"

Conclusion

Advantages

  • Enhanced patient comfort
  • High application safety (= decreased cold damage!)
  • Individually adjustable temperature
  • Relieves burden on nursing staff
  • Available for outpatient and inpatient care

Disadvantages

  • Costs (?)
  • Not prescribable


Research and Studies | Testimonials | Treatment Cuffs

“After a track record of some years already treating post-op patients with great success, as well as other patients with inflammatory rheumatic systemic disorders in conservative therapy involving a system of cooling cuffs applied to large joints, we were then given the chance, as part of this initial observational study, to test prototypes of the new hand cuffs on our patients undergoing hand surgery as well as patients with rheumatoid arthritis as part of conservative therapy. Here too, the first results have been very promising. On average, after administering the treatments, the result was a pain reduction on the visual analog scale of 2 from a total of 10 points. 1⁄4 of the patients also attributed a reduced need for painkillers to the treatment. None of the applications led to any unwanted side effects or intensified pain, so we can unreservedly recommend the method used, both for our own rheumatic patients as well as for other patients facing orthopedic and traumatological issues.”

Dr Peter Keysser
Head Doctor
Department for Rehabilitation
Orthopaedics and Rheumatology
Oberammergau Hospital, Germany

“By using Hilotherapy on patients who have undergone surgery, we achieve an optimal result. The patients find the therapy very pleasant. Post-operative swelling, haemorrhages or the formation of haematomas are clearly reduced through use of this therapy.

Hilotherapy is an inherent part of our clinic and is indispensable when it comes to the optimal care of our patients.”

Dr Klaus Steinhauser
Orthopaedist and sports medicine specialist
Orthopaedic clinic for outpatient knee joint operations, Karlsruhe, Germany

"The use of Hilotherapy is great supplement for postoperative treatment of orthopedic procedures to improve the healing process. The results compared to conventional cryotherapy are more efficient and lead to a lower need for postoperative analgesics."

Dr Rolf F. Oetiker
Medical specialist for orthopaedic surgery and traumatology of the musculoskeletal system
Cham, Switzerland

"I have been using a Hilotherapy Home Care device, most recently with one of the new hand cuffs, for the past 12 months. I thought that you might be interested to read about my experience in using the device.
I have Osteoarthritis in my left hand. This means that my hand is stiff and painful and I sometimes find it difficult to carry out small and precise movements with my left hand. I use the Hilotherapy device every evening, for about an hour, I set the temperature to 18 degrees Celsius. 
The effect of using the device regularly is remarkable. The immediate effect is that the pain in my hand is greatly reduced, to the point that it is virtually non existent. The stiffness in my hand is greatly improved and my hand is more flexible. In order to maintain both the reduction in pain and the improved flexibility in my hand I believe that the device needs to be used continuously. 
Using the Hilotherapy device in the way that I have described, for an hour in the evening, does not impinge on my normal active lifestyle. I am able to work, go to the gym, socialise and so forth. Using the device is an integral part of my day and has proved to be immensely beneficial to me in managing my condition. 
I am happy to recommend the regular use of a Hilotherapy device to assist in the management of arthritis, it has certainly helped me."

Alexandra Stein



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