This pilot study was concerned with discovering the effectiveness of the ice pack as an agent for reducing the blood flow through the scalp blood vessels thereby reducing the alopecia caused by the drug adriamycin. The use of cold is known as a vasoconstricting agent. It was thought that if vasconstriction could be maintained for the first few minutes following the injection of adriamycin, the incidence of alopecia could be reduced.
Available references to the effects of cold on skin circulation and the effects of the drug adriamycin were studied to formulate a method of approach as no previous methodology suitable to this study was found in the literature.
The experimental method was used on a sample; of 14 cancer patients meeting the criteria for the study. The independent variable for the 9 patients in the experimental group (only 7 of whom were evaluated) was the application of the ice pack over the scalp area. Two paper surgical caps were placed over the scalp area to collect condensed moisture from the ice pack and then a plastic bag filled with ice chips secured in place by an ace bandage was the method used. The ice pack was in place 3 minutes before, during and following the intravenous injection of adriamycin. The over-all time for the ice pack application was 10 minutes.
Because of the difficulty in measuring the amount of hair loss in an objective manners a subjective approach was used, The patient as well as three nurses were asked to assess; hair loss on a scale of none, mild, moderates severe, or total hair loss. Pictures were taken before the treatment, at three weeks and again at six Weeks where possible. These served as guidelines as to how much hair the patient had before treatment began. Data were also kept as to the date of onset for alopecia, whether men were needing to shave less, whether the patient had prior chemotherapy or radiation in the last six months, and the type of hair loss, i. e. general, patchy, margins gone, or margins left.
There were not enough females to determine whether sex had any relation on the amount of alopecia experienced with adriamycin. Age was not a factor except there was a positive correlation between age and date of onset for alopecia. The younger the patient, the earlier the date of onset for alopecia. There was close correlation between patient assessment of his alopecia and the assessment of his alopecia by the nurse observers. At three weeks there was significantly less alopecia among members of the experimental group than the control group, but at six weeks, both groups were almost equal. This would indicate alopecia was delayed in the experimental group but the degree; was not reduced by the six weeks period.
There were several recommendations made from this pilot study that would be suitable for future studies.
L. Lucile Lewis
Charleene W. Riffel
Thomas E. Godfrey
Master of Science (MS)
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This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.
Frembling, Carol, "Effects of Ice Application on Alopecia Produced by Adriamycin" (1972). Loma Linda University Electronic Theses, Dissertations & Projects. 1216.
Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives