Summary : The purpose of this study was to present a protocol for visualizing lymphatic flow in patients with heart failure (HF) by using indocyanine green fluorescence lymphography. 37 subjects were studied: 20 patients with acute heart failure (AHF) and lower limb edema, 7 patients with chronic heart failure (CHF) without lower limb edema, and 10 control subjects (no HF, no limb edema). All subjects were assessed at rest, and 11 subjects (6 control and 5 with CHF) were assessed again after a 10-minute walk. The lymph flow was visualized in all selected patients without complications. At rest, there was either no lymph flow or minimal lymph flow in all control subjects and patients with CHF, whereas the majority of patients with AHF demonstrated significant lymph flow. This study describes a new method to visualize/assess lymphatic flow in patients with HF, allowing for continuous, real-time tracking of lymphatic flow in the lower extremity.

Conclusions: Overall, this protocol provides a valuable method for lymphatic drainage assessment in patients with HF. It could potentially help to understand the role of the lymphatic system in the pathophysiology of HF and, as a result, could aid in developing new ways of treatment for peripheral edema in those patients.

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