Early treatment for leg ulcers gets patients back on their feet

Treating leg ulcers within two weeks by closing faulty veins improves healing by 12% compared to standard treatment, according to new findings.

person walking,leg ulcers
Image: Imperial College London

Leg ulcers are caused by bad blood flow in the lower leg and frequently because of flawed veins in the leg called varicose veins. These enable blood to stream in the wrong bearing – towards the lower legs and feet. This causes a pulse to ascends in veins in the lower leg, and these vessels swell and harm the skin.

In most cases, it causes holes in legs that take a long time to heal. An estimate suggests that the NHS manages 731,000 leg ulcers each year. Because ulcers can take a long time to heal – and lead to serious complications such as amputation.

The examination, drove by Imperial College London and financed by the National Institute for Health Research, contemplated 450 UK patients with the most widely recognized sort of leg ulcers known as venous ulcers.

Almost half of the patients received treatments within two weeks to tackle varicose veins.

These are typically performed under neighborhood sedative and include a specialist wrecking or shutting the vein by infusing froth cleanser into the vein, utilizing laser or warmth to devastate the vessel or paste to seal it.

In the examination, the staying half of patients got treatment to handle varicose veins after their ulcer had recuperated, or following a half year if their ulcer was as yet present. All patients were requested to wear pressure leggings, which crush the blood go down the leg.

Professor Alun Davies, a lead author of the research from the Department of Surgery and Cancer at Imperial, said: “Leg ulcers can significantly impact on a patient’s quality of life and in severe cases can lead to someone losing part of their limb. They also represent a huge cost to the NHS. However, at the moment, most patients are offered only compression stockings without being referred on for treatment that tackles the root of the problem – the faulty vein.”

“Until now there has been no robust trial to assess whether treatments to close the vein are effective.”

“With this trial, we have shown that by intervening early you improve the healing of the leg ulcer, and help a patient recover quicker. We recommend that patients are referred to a vascular clinic upon diagnosis with a venous ulcer, to see if they would be suitable for early treatment.”

The results suggested that in patients who received varicose vein treatment within two weeks their ulcer healed in 56 days, compared to 82 days in the group whose treatment was delayed.

The results suggested that, after 24 weeks, the ulcer healing rates were 85.6 percent in the group who received rapid treatment, compared to 76.3 percent in the group who received delayed treatment.

The authors acknowledge that all patients in the trial received optimal treatment, and say increasing research is needed into the problem of leg ulcers, especially treatment pathways.

Francine Heatley, trial manager of the study from the Department of Surgery and Cancer at Imperial, said: “As our population ages, and obesity rises, leg ulcers look set to become an increasing issue for patients and the NHS. We need to find the most effective, and cost-efficient, a method of treating this condition.”

The study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.