- This study investigated the influence of arterial disease, patient age and the presence of a venous ulcer on venous refilling time as measured by photoplethysmography. Refilling time was evaluated in 157 control limbs, in 133 limbs with venous disease, in 17 limbs with arterial disease and in 20 limbs with mixed disease (arterial and venous disease) as the cause of ulceration. Refilling time reduced progressively with age in control subjects and was significantly shorter over the age of 50 years. Limbs with venous disease alone had a significantly shorter refilling time when compared with controls (Mann-Whitney U test, P < 0.01); however, there was no alteration in refilling time with age. Limbs with arterial disease, without clinical evidence of venous insufficiency, had a shorter refilling time when compared with controls but a longer refilling time compared with those with venous disease (P < 0.01). The refilling time in patients with mixed ulcers did not differ from those with venous ulcers (P < 0.265). Refilling time measured when an ulcer was present was not significantly different to that measured after the ulcer had healed (P = 0.59). Venous refilling time normally reduces with age but is not affected by arterial disease or the presence of an ulcer.