Aetiology of chronic leg ulcers
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This study was undertaken to determine the relative prevalence of the factors causing chronic ulceration of the leg in the general population. Two hundred and fifty-nine patients with chronic ulceration of the leg were found on screening a Western Australian population of 238,000. (The prevalence of chronic ulceration of the leg was 1.1 per 1000 population.) Two hundred and forty-two of these patients (93%) with 286 chronically ulcerated limbs were fully assessed to determine the factors contributing to ulceration. In 239 limbs (84%) ulceration involved the leg; in these limbs venous disease was the most prevalent cause of ulceration (160 limbs). Arterial disease was found in 66 limbs, with both venous and arterial disease present in 35 limbs. Rheumatoid arthritis was a causative factor in 27 limbs and diabetes was found with 29 limbs with ulceration involving the leg. In 47 limbs (16%) ulceration was confined to the foot; arterial disease (35 limbs) and diabetes (23 limbs) were the most prevalent causes of ulceration in these limbs. Venous disease was infrequent (three limbs). No disorder of the circulation was found in 48 limbs (20%) with ulceration involving the leg, and in 58 (20%) of all ulcerated limbs. More than one aetiological factor was present in 93 limbs (33%). A cause for ulceration was not found in 10 limbs (3.5%).
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