To assess whether a difference in venous reflux pattern, ulcer size or duration, regular medications or the daily use of walking aids can predict the healing of a chronic venous leg ulcer (VLU).
In this prospective, randomised, single-centre study, 110 consecutive patients with chronic leg ulcers were assessed. Ninety-nine patients met the inclusion criteria and a controlled, conservative 3-month treatment period was initiated, in which 90 patients were managed with standardised local treatment combined with compression therapy. In this group, 62 VLUs healed within 12 weeks and 28 were still open after 12 weeks. The study group consisted of 22 patients with non-healed ulcers and a control group (n=28), which was selected randomly from the healers. In both groups, venous reflux profiles were assessed using colour-flow duplex imaging.
The study and control groups did not differ in smoking habits, age, gender or daily oral medications. On average, the healing wounds were 5cm² before starting controlled treatment (range 1-80cm²) and had been open for 7 months (range 2-48 months); the non-healing wounds were on average 11.2cm² (range 1-31cm²) and had been open for 26 months (range 8-106 months). Venous disease severity scores were similar for both groups (12.6 vs. 13.4). Five patients (18%) with healed ulcers regularly used walking aids, the use of which was more frequent (36%) among non-healers (p