Purpose: To develop a simple prediction rule to identify patients in whom a venous leg ulcer will heal using a limb compression bandage (eg, Unna's boot).
Subjects and methods: We performed a retrospective cohort study of patients with venous leg ulcers who received a limb compression bandage applied weekly. Prognostic factors were assessed from the patient's history before the start of treatment. The outcome of interest was a healed wound within 24 weeks of treatment. The final model was validated in another data set.
Results: Several accurate prognostic models were developed. The simplest model summed the size and duration of the wound before treatment, with 1 point given for a wound with an area >5 cm(2) and another if the wound was >6 months old. In the development data set, ulcers healed in 93% (110 of 118) of patients with a score of 0, but in only 13% (9 of 67) of those with a score of 2. In the validation data set, ulcers healed in 95% (19 of 20) of patients with a score of 0, and 37% (44 of 120) of those with a score of 2.
Conclusions: This simple prognostic model can be used to discriminate between patients with a venous leg ulcer that will or will not heal within 24 weeks of care with a limb compression bandage. The model may be useful in determining which patients to treat with a limb compression, and which patients should be referred or considered for alternative treatments.