The revised guideline of 2013 is an update of the 2005 guideline "venous leg ulcer". In this special project four separate guidelines (venous leg ulcer, varicose veins, compression therapy and deep venous disorders) were revised and developed simultaneously. A meeting was held including representatives of any organisation involved in venous disease management including patient organizations and health insurance companies. Eighteen clinical questions where defined, and a new strategy was used to accelerate the process. This resulted in two new and two revised guidelines within one year. The guideline committee advises use of the C of the CEAP classification as well as the Venous Clinical Severity Score (VCSS) and a Quality of life (QoL) score in the assessment of clinical signs. These can provide insight into the burden of disease and the effects of treatment as experienced by the patient. A duplex ultrasound should be performed in every patient to establish the underlying aetiology and to evaluate the need for treatment (which is discussed in a separate guideline). The use of the TIME model for describing venous ulcers is recommended. There is no evidence for antiseptic or antibiotic wound care products except for a Cochrane review in which some evidence is presented for cadexomer iodine. Signs of infection are the main reason for the use of oral antibiotics. When the ulcer fails to heal the use of oral aspirin and pentoxifylline can be considered as an adjunct. For the individual patient, the following aspects should be considered: the appearance of the ulcer (amount of exudate) according to the TIME model, the influence of wound care products on moisturising the wound, frequency of changing compression bandages, pain and allergies. The cost of the dressings should also be considered. Education and training of patients t improves compliance with compression therapy but does not influence wound healing rates.
Keywords: Venous leg ulcer; wound dressings.
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