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Changes in quality of life for patients with chronic venous insufficiency, present or healed leg ulcers.

BACKGROUND: Patients with chronic leg ulcers are handicapped in daily life, both by physical complaints and social problems. The aim of our study was not only to assess a possible impairment of quality of life (QOL) of leg ulcer patients but also to evaluate if there is a real improvement of QOL after healing of the ulcer. Patients with chronic venous insufficiency served as the control group. We further analyzed if there were significant differences in the response between patients who were and were not performing compression therapy.

PATIENTS AND METHOD: We interviewed three groups of patients (active venous leg ulcer, healed venous leg ulcer and patients with chronic venous insufficiency using the "Freiburger Life Quality Assessment für Venenerkrankungen" (FLQAv).

RESULTS: Physical problems, daily handicaps and social problems all increased with age. Contrary to our expectations, healing of a leg ulcer did not lead to a significant increase in QOL. Instead, patients with active ulcers did not regard their QOL as lower than those in the other groups. Compression therapy also did not impair QOL in the three groups.

CONCLUSION: Even though ulcer healing is an admirable goal, it does not necessarily lead to an improved QOL, probably because of the numerous comorbidities in this patient group. Nonetheless, it is important to control problems associated directly with the wound to allow ulcer patients to participate actively in everyday life and minimize social problems.

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