Arterial Ulcers

Cheryl Carver's picture
Heart Health

By Cheryl Carver, LPN, WCC, CWCA, CWCP, DAPWCA, FACCWS, CLTC – Wound Educator

With the millions of people living with chronic wounds, there are also millions of people living with cardiovascular disease. Every year, there are approximately 670,000 Americans diagnosed with heart disease. This equals more than one person diagnosed each minute! The skin may be the largest organ, but the heart is most vital in circulating oxygen and nutrient-rich blood throughout your body. A healthy heart is a leading factor in wound healing. Cardiovascular diseases that impede healing include peripheral arterial disease, coronary artery diseases, heart failure, and other heart and vessel issues that can inhibit blood, oxygen, and nutrition in wound healing.

Martin Vera's picture
Arterial Wounds

By Martin D. Vera LVN, CWS

As we move forward in our continuation of lower extremity wounds, we will now turn our attention to arterial wounds. In my previous post, we discussed challenges with venous leg ulcers. Lower extremity wounds continue to challenge clinicians on a daily basis. We often refer to them as "the big three" – or how I like to refer to them, "the pesky triplets." It doesn't matter what we call them, we know we are referring to venous leg ulcers, arterial ulcers, and diabetic foot ulcers. In no way shape or manner will we disregard the many other types of lower extremity wounds we may encounter as wound clinicians, but these three are the most common and often present with treatment challenges.

Bruce Ruben's picture
hand wound

By Bruce E. Ruben MD

A non-healing wound is generally defined as a wound that will not heal within four weeks. If a wound does not heal within this usual time period, the cause is usually found in underlying conditions that have either gone unnoticed or untreated. In general, there are five reasons why wounds will not heal and more than one of these conditions can be operating at the same time.

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Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine's picture

By Chinenye Queen Ezike and James McGuire DPM, PT, CPed, FAPWHc

Venous Leg Ulcers (VLUs) are the most common cause of lower extremity ulcerations, affecting about 1% of the US population. Recurrence rates for VLUs are also extremely high and ulcers can remain for weeks to years, even with appropriate treatment. More often than not, however, they are treated with inadequate compression and are complicated by poor patient compliance.

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Aletha Tippett MD's picture

By Aletha Tippett MD

In considering this question as to whether amputation can be palliative, let’s keep clear that these are two separate subjects that sometimes interact. It is key to always keep our goals in mind. What is the goal in palliative care? The goals are to provide comfort, relieve pain, prevent infection, and improve or maintain quality of life. These goals are always to be in concert with the desires and wishes of the individual patient.

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Laurie Swezey's picture

By Laurie Swezey RN, BSN, CWOCN, CWS, FACCWS

Arterial ulcers can cause much pain for patients and consternation for the wound care professionals tasked with managing them. Arterial ulcers can be a catch-22 in that many patients with arterial ulcers present with edema, but due to the nature of their problem cannot be safely compressed.

Aletha Tippett MD's picture

By Aletha Tippett MD

Once the individual has been thoroughly assessed for palliative care and his or her objectives and needs have been discussed, the wound care provider must determine the wound management strategy to follow. This strategy will depend upon the type of wound being treated for palliation. A summary of each type of wound and an appropriate palliative strategy are listed below, including factors such as removal of the wound cause, pain and drainage management, and odor control:

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Laurie Swezey's picture

By Laurie Swezey RN, BSN, CWOCN, CWS, FACCWS

The rate of wound closure is affected by systemic and local factors, as well as a number of the wound’s own inherent characteristics. It is important to understand these factors so that they can be managed optimally as part of an overall strategy to help achieve wound closure.

Aletha Tippett MD's picture

By Aletha Tippett MD

In my work with wounds, I frequently find the absence of a diagnosis of ischemia, or worse, I find a misdiagnosis. Ischemia is caused by severe obstruction of the arteries, which seriously decreases blood flow. If the arteries are in the heart, you will find a heart attack. If the arteries are in the brain, you will find a stroke. In the skin, you will find a wound.