A systematic review of health-related quality of life instruments used for people with venous ulcers: an assessment of their suitability and psychometric properties

J Clin Nurs. 2010 Oct;19(19-20):2673-703. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2702.2010.03269.x.


Aims and objectives: To review the quality of life questionnaires used to measure the impact of venous ulceration and to evaluate their psychometric properties.

Background: Venous leg ulcers have a negative impact on quality of life. Health-related quality of life can be measured using structured questionnaires. Nurses are the primary care providers for patients with venous ulceration and are ideally placed to assess and develop these types of questionnaires. There may also be an opportunity to use such quality of life instruments to measure the impact of nursing interventions in other areas where nurses are the key care providers.

Design: Systematic review.

Method: Studies were sought that used quality of life instruments to evaluate the impact of venous ulceration. Fourteen electronic bibliographical databases and 11 Internet-based health services research related resources were searched. In addition, grey literature was sought and the reference lists of relevant articles checked. Data were extracted regarding the type of instrument used, sample, number of items and domains and psychometric performance of the instrument.

Results: The initial search identified a total of 338 potential citations. After review, a total of 31 studies were included: 17 used generic and 14 used disease-specific instruments. Five different types of generic and seven disease-specific instruments were identified. There was significant heterogeneity between the studies in terms of study design, aetiology of ulceration and times of assessment. The disease-specific instruments showed limitations in relation to their applicability to venous ulcer patients because of flaws in design or validation.

Conclusions: The literature on quality of life related to venous ulceration failed to sufficiently distinguish between those with different causes of leg ulceration. There appeared to be problems with the ability of current quality of life instruments to detect changes in quality of life related to ulcer healing. Relevance to clinical practice. There appears to be an opportunity for nurses to develop a health-related quality of life health-related quality of life instruments to evaluate their impact on patient outcomes. Such instruments could potentially allow nursing interventions to be assessed more effectively than the recently proposed nursing metrics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Psychometrics*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Varicose Ulcer / physiopathology*