Evidence-based treatment of chronic leg ulcers

Dtsch Arztebl Int. 2011 Apr;108(14):231-7. doi: 10.3238/arztebl.2011.0231. Epub 2011 Apr 8.


Background: Chronic leg ulcers are defined as those that show no tendency to heal after 3 months of appropriate treatment or are still not fully healed at 12 months. In this article, we present an approach to the challenging problem of chronic leg ulcers that is based on the principles of evidence-based medicine, i.e., the explicit use of the best available scientific evidence as a guide to treatment.

Methods: Selective review of the relevant literature, including current guidelines and meta-analyses, concerning diagnostic and therapeutic strategies for chronic leg ulcers.

Results: The main types of causally directed treatment are: vein surgery to eliminate pathological reflux, interventions to improve the circulation in arterial occlusive disease, and treatment of underlying diseases, such as diabetes mellitus.

Conclusion: Physicians providing modern evidence-based management of chronic leg ulcers should make use of their own clinical experience in combination with the best current scientific evidence. It seems clear that the many available treatment options should be evaluated critically in an interdisciplinary setting. In particular, causally directed treatment must be provided in addition to symptomatic, stage-based local wound treatment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Disease
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Evidence-Based Medicine*
  • Humans
  • Leg Ulcer / diagnosis*
  • Leg Ulcer / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome