Objectives: To assess whether routine use of foam sclerotherapy, in addition to four-layer compression bandaging, could speed up the healing of venous ulcers.
Design: Randomised controlled trial involving patients recruited from a nurse-led leg ulcer clinic. A total of 315 new patients were assessed, and eleven patients were identified from follow-up clinics.
Methods: Inclusion criteria were: patients with an active venous leg ulcer, in the presence of superficial truncal venous incompetence and without total deep venous incompetence on duplex imaging. Patients were randomised to four-layer compression bandages alone (control) or with additional foam sclerotherapy to incompetent superficial truncal veins. The primary endpoint was ulcer healing 24 weeks after randomisation.
Results: It was only possible to recruit 40 patients who were suitable for analysis: 22 control, 18 additional foam sclerotherapy. There was no complication from the foam treatment and at six months the target vein was occluded in 9 of 11 evaluable patients that had foam. One patient died before 24 weeks from an unrelated cause. At 24 weeks, 17 of 20 (85% - 1 died) in the control group and 12 of 13 (92%) patients with additional foam sclerotherapy had ulcer healing (P=0.72, log rank testing).
Conclusion: This trial failed to recruit sufficient patients for formal comparison, but foam sclerotherapy was feasible as an adjunct to compression therapy for venous ulceration.
Trial registration: Eudra CT 2005-001551-38.