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Simplifying venous leg ulcer management: consensus recommendations

7 May 2015

Many countries have published guidelines, which state that compression therapy is the ‘gold standard’ treatment for venous leg ulcers. Compression therapy is known to significantly increase VLU healing rates and reduce the risk of recurrence. Despite this, efforts to heal VLUs are often focused on the use of advanced wound dressings and other therapies, while an established key to healing – compression therapy — is underused.

An international group of experts in leg ulcers and venous disease met in December 2014. The group recognised that a very high proportion of all leg ulcers have venous disease as a causative or contributory factor (i.e. are VLUs or mixed aetiology ulcers) and so may be appropriate for compression therapy. Their discussions centred on identifying how to encourage wider adoption of compression therapy by simplifying the key principles involved. The conclusions reached form the basis of this document and are presented as an ABC of the management of VLUs, with the focus on the active treatment phase. It is hoped that this simplified approach will help clinicians to clearly understand why, when and how compression therapy should be used.

Everyone involved in wound healing should be ambitious in striving for a step change that decisively overturns passivity in expecting lengthy, delayed or non-healing of VLUs and other leg ulcers associated with venous disease. We need to actively seek to enhance affected patients’ lives by improving healing rates through increased appropriate use of compression therapy.

Expert working group

Keith Harding, Cardiff University, Wales

Caroline Dowsett, East London NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK

Lore Fias, University Hospital Antwerp, Belgium

Rolf Jelnes, Sygehus Soenderjylland, Soenderborg, Denmark

Giovanni Mosti, Clinica MD Barbantini, Lucca, Italy

Rut Öien, Blekinge Hospital, Karlshamn, Sweden

Hugo Partsch, Medical University of Vienna, Austria

Suzan Reeder, Albert Schweitzer Hospital, Dordrecht, Netherlands

Patricia Senet, Hôpitaux Universitaires Paris Est (AP-HP), Paris, France

José Verdú Soriano, University of Alicante, Spain

Wolfgang Vanscheidt, Freiburg, Germany. 

Supported by 3M

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