Oedema is commonly associated with venous leg ulcers, and is thought to discourage wound healing. However, little attention has been paid to the mechanism or significance of oedema in this condition. This study assessed the prevalence of oedema and lymphatic insufficiency and their influence on wound healing amongst 56 patients. Two populations were studied – community and hospital-managed, with an almost equal number of cases in each. The presence of oedema and lymphatic insufficiency was assessed clinically and, the duration of the current ulcer was used as an indicator of healing rate. Oedema was present in 55% of patients, but its prevalence in the community-treated group was much greater than in the hospital-treated group. Lymphatic insufficiency was present in 22% of patients with an equal prevalence in the two groups. The presence of oedema was associated with a longer duration of ulcer whereas the use of diuretics was associated with a shorter duration. This suggests that oedema may be an important factor in discouraging the healing of ulcers. Greater attention should be paid clinically to the prevention of oedema, as its presence suggests inadequate treatment and a failure to heal.
- leg ulcers
- lymphatic insufficiency
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine