Compression stockings healed venous leg ulcers as effectively as bandages

Two-layer compression stockings effectively heal venous leg ulcers as well as a four-layer bandage, according to recent study results published in The Lancet.

Researchers randomly assigned 457 participants with a venous leg ulcer and an ankle brachial pressure index of at least 0.8 to receive two-layer compression stockings or a four-layer bandage. Patients were treated in one of 34 health care centers in England and Northern Ireland. Researchers stratified participants by ulcer duration and ulcer area. Primary endpoint was time to ulcer healing with a maximum follow-up of 12 months, and measured by masked assessment of photographs. Primary analysis was intention to treat with Cox regression, adjusted for ulcer area, ulcer duration, physical mobility and center where patients were treated.

Overall, study results showed median time to ulcer healing was 99 days in the compression stocking group and 98 days in the bandage group. The proportion of ulcers healing was also the same in both groups. However, more participants assigned to compression stockings changed their treatment compared with the bandage group, suggesting that stockings may not be appropriate for all patients.

“The finding that compression stockings are a cost effective treatment for venous leg ulcers is important for patients, carers and the NHS,” Jo Dumville, senior lecturer in applied health research at the University of Manchester’s School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work, stated in a press release. “Compression bandages are bulky, unattractive and may interfere with normal footwear; they can also be costly as they take time to apply and often require frequent nurse visits to change them.”

For more information:

Ashby RL. Lancet. 2013;doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(13)6236-5.

Disclosure: Dumville has no relevant financial disclosures.

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