Terms to Know: Venous Leg Ulcers

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by the WoundSource Editors

Calf muscle pump: Functional result of the calf muscle surrounding the deep venous system and compressing the veins during plantarflexion by contracting the muscle to assist with venous return to the heart.

CEAP classification: Utilizing clinical manifestations, etiologic factors, anatomic location, and pathophysiologic dysfunction to create a comprehensive objective system for classifying chronic venous insufficiency including severity scoring.

Chronic venous insufficiency: A disease process principally caused by venous hypertension and valve dysfunction that can lead to venous reflux, pooling, dilated or tortuous veins, and thrombosis and can be a precursor to venous leg ulcers.

Compression therapy: For lower extremity edema; the utilization of garments, pneumatic devices, or dressing systems applied circumferentially to reduce edema by assisting venous return.

Hemosiderin: Brownish discoloration of the lower extremities in response to the heme, or the pigment-containing iron from red blood cells, passing through dilated vessel walls and depositing into the tissue as a result of venous hypertension and subsequent edema.

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Lipodermatosclerosis: In lower extremity venous disease, the deposition of fibrotic tissue in the dermal and subcutaneous fat layers that manifests as a "woody" induration of the skin. Typically present in advanced venous disease.

Papillomatosis: In patients with lymphedema, generally stage 3, the skin of the lower extremity can take on a cobblestone appearance as a result of long-standing, fibrotic edema.

Stasis dermatitis/venous eczema: Inflammatory skin changes of venous disease in the lower extremity, including erythema, weeping, pruritus and excoriation, flaking of skin, and dried adherent exudates, that are often confused with cellulitis.

Venous hypertension: In the lower extremities, above normal pressure causes or worsens existing valve dysfunction and further development of trophic changes, including hyperpigmentation, xerosis, varicosities, stasis dermatitis/venous eczema, and potentially ulceration.

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