Background: Edema often occurs in association with venous leg ulcers.
Objective: Our purpose was to assess lymphatic function in the legs of patients with venous leg ulcers.
Methods: Quantitative lymphoscintigraphy was performed in 22 normal control subjects, 32 patients with venous leg ulcers, and 7 patients with varicose veins only.
Results: Lymph drainage declined with age in the normal controls (r = -0.57; p = 0.0001). Lymphatic function was reduced in the ulcerated legs compared with normal limbs (age < 65 years; p < 0.0001) and in edematous legs compared with nonedematous legs (age > 65 years; ulcerated legs, p = 0.016; nonulcerated legs, p = 0.021). Lymph drainage was lower in the legs of patients with varicose veins only (p = 0.004).
Conclusion: Impaired lymphatic function is associated with both venous leg ulcers and chronic venous hypertension.