Biochemical analysis of wound fluid from nonhealing and healing chronic leg ulcers
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The purpose of this study was to determine the biochemical composition of fluid taken from chronic wounds, to compare these values with that of serum, and therefore to assess whether the wound fluid is representative of the extracellular environment of the wound. Paired wound fluid and blood samples were collected from eight patients with chronic leg ulcers in a nonhealing and healing phase. Wound fluid and serum samples were screened for a profile of general biochemical analyses, including electrolytes, lactate, glucose, and protein analyses. Electrolyte levels were essentially identical in wound fluid and serum samples. Lactate and lactate dehydrogenase levels were significantly greater and glucose and bicarbonate levels were significantly lower in wound fluid when compared with the paired serum samples. Albumin and total protein levels in wound fluid were on average half those of serum levels. In this small sample of eight patients, wound fluid collected from chronic leg ulcers is an exudate with the biochemical composition expected in extracellular fluid. In addition, bicarbonate and glucose levels increase and C-reactive protein levels decrease in wound fluid, but remain unchanged in serum, during healing. These results suggest changes in the state of hypoxia and the inflammatory process in the healing wound.
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