EPIDEMIOLOGY OF CHRONIC LEG ULCERS IN AUSTRALIA
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The aim of this study was to determine the point prevalence of ulceration of the leg in an Australian community. This was a population-based epidemiological study. Two hundred and fifty-nine patients with leg ulceration were identified by health care professionals of all types working in hospitals and private practices, as well as by self referral from patients. The base population in the study area was 238,000. The following data were recorded: age, sex, site of ulceration, duration of ulceration, history of previous ulceration and patient mobility. The point prevalence was 0.11%. The male:female ratio was 1:1.9; however the age related prevalence was similar for both sexes. The age related prevalence of ulceration was similar to that found in two similarly conducted studies in the United Kingdom. The ulcers were a chronic problem with 24% having been present for more than 1 year. Thirty-five per cent of patients had had a problem of ulceration for more than 5 years and 20% had suffered 10 or more episodes of ulceration. Related immobility was a prominent factor with 45% of patients being housebound. Chronic ulceration of the leg is a common recurrent problem in the elderly population and is likely to increase as the population grows. There is a definite need to improve the method of treating this problem.
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