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A Journal on Physiopathology and Therapy of Chronic Cutaneous Ulcers
Official Journal of the Italian Association for Cutaneous Ulcers
Indexed/Abstracted in: EMBASE, Scopus, Emerging Sources Citation Index
Acta Vulnologica 2008 June;6(2):53-6
Comorbidities in aged patients with leg ulcers
Gonella M., Martinelli E., Ricci E.
UOA Ferite Difficili Casa di Cura San Luca Pecetto Torinese, Torino, Italia
Aim. It is estimated that people in industrialised countries have a 1% chance of suffering from a leg ulcer at some time in their life. The prevalence of leg ulceration in Western countries varies from 0,12% to 1,69%, rising up to 3-5% in the population over 65 years of age. Several medical conditions occur commonly in patients who develop leg ulcers. The presence of these comorbidities may explain the onset, the recurrence and the enlargement of a chronic leg wound, which may be often considered as an ephifenomenon of the primitive illness. Besides, coexisting multiple medical conditions are very common among elderly people. Objective of the study is to assess incidence of comorbidities in people with leg ulcers, aged 65 and over.
Methods. Observational study of 100 patients affected by chronic lower limb wounds (mean age 78,6 years old, 70 women and 30 men), admitted to the San Luca Clinic, Pecetto Torinese, Italy from December 1, 2006 until May 31, 2007.
Results. The medical condition more frequently associated with chronic leg wounds was hypertension (74%), followed by type II diabetes (35%), chronic venous insufficiency (35%), chronic renal failure (34%) and peripheral artheriopathy (33%). Other frequent comorbidities were atrial fibrillation and osteoartrosis. The mean number of pathologies per patient was 5,5.
Conclusion. As a chronic wound is likely to have many underlyling causes, it is very important to assess the global status of the patient, including comorbid diseases, which may affect the aetiology, the progression and the recurrence of the wound. Treatment of comorbidities is therefore as important as local treatment. Systemic, as well as local, factors can impair wound healing, playing an important role in patients and wound prognosis.