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Managing venous stasis ulcers

Managing chronic venous leg ulcers — what’s the latest evidence?

By Kulbir Dhillon, MSN, FNP, APNP, WCC

Venous disease, which encompasses all conditions caused by or related to diseased or abnormal veins, affects about 15% of adults. When mild, it rarely poses a problem, but as it worsens, it can become crippling and chronic.

Chronic venous disease often is overlooked by primary and cardiovascular care providers, who underestimate its magnitude and impact. Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) causes hypertension in the venous system of the legs, leading to various pathologies that involve pain, swelling, edema, skin changes, stasis dermatitis, and ulcers. An estimated 1% of the U.S. population suffers from venous stasis ulcers (VSUs). Causes of VSUs include inflammatory processes resulting in leukocyte activation, endothelial damage, platelet aggregation, and intracellular edema. Preventing VSUs is the most important aspect of CVI management. (more…)

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About WoundCareAdvisor.com

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WoundCareAdvisor.com is a unique educational web destination that has been designed to be a trusted, timely and useful resource for healthcare professionals dealing with chronic wounds and ostomy management issues.  Offerings on the side currently include 

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Bookmark this site and check back often!  Contact us at tlondon@healthcommedia.com with your comments, suggestions or if you would like to be a contributor.

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2015 Journal: May – June Vol. 4 No. 3

Wound Care Advisor Journal Vol4 No3

Get the ‘SKINNI’ on reducing pressure ulcers

Like many hospitals, Houston Methodist San Jacinto Hospital uses national benchmarks such as the National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators (NDNQI®) to measure quality outcomes. Based on benchmark reports that showed an increased trend of pressure ulcers in critically ill patients in our hospital, the clinical nurses in our Critical Care Shared Governance Unit-Based Council (CCSGUBC) identified an improvement opportunity.

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A collaborative approach to wound care and lymphedema therapy: Part 1

By Erin Fazzari, MPT, CLT, CWS, DWC Have you seen legs like those shown in the images below in your practice? These images show lymphedema and venous stasis ulcers, illustrating the importance of collaboration between clinicians in two disciplines: lymphedema and wound care.

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Ankle-brachial index: A dirty word?

Donna Sardina, RN, MHA, WCC, CWCMS, DWC, OMS Silence, roving eyes, fidgeting, excuses, a quick subject change—these are typical responses from healthcare clinicians when asked, “What’s the patient’s ankle-brachial index?” You’d think someone had just uttered a dirty word. The ankle-brachial index (ABI) is a key component of the lower-extremity vascular exam, recommended and in some cases mandated by numerous…

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Clinical Notes: diabetes, LMW heparin, dressings, lymphedema

Factors affecting medication adherence in patients with diabetes identified Factors associated with better adherence to antidiabetic medications taken by patients with diabetes include older age, male sex, higher education, higher income, use of mail-order vs. retail pharmacies, primary care vs. nonendocrinology specialist prescribers, higher daily total pill burden, and lower out-of-pocket costs.

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Clinician Resources: Nutrition, Workplace Violence, Pressure Injuries

Learn about resources useful to your practice. Nutrition and pressure ulcers Advances in Skin & Wound Care has published “The role of nutrition for pressure ulcer management: National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel, European Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel, and Pan Pacific Pressure Injury Alliance White Paper.” The white paper includes evidence-based nutrition strategies for preventing and managing pressure ulcers.

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Creating high-performance interprofessional teams

By Terry Eggenberger, PhD, RN, CNE, CNL; Rose O. Sherman, EdD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN; and Kathryn Keller, PhD, RN Kate Summer, a wound care clinician in a urban hospital, is leading an initiative to reduce pressure ulcers. She knows from experience that more effective communication and collaborative planning by the interdisciplinary team managing these patients is crucial for reducing pressure…

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Get the ‘SKINNI’ on reducing pressure ulcers

By Cindy Barefield, BSN, RN-BC, CWOCN Like many hospitals, Houston Methodist San Jacinto Hospital uses national benchmarks such as the National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators (NDNQI®) to measure quality outcomes. Based on benchmark reports that showed an increased trend of pressure ulcers in critically ill patients in our hospital, the clinical nurses in our Critical Care Shared Governance Unit-Based…

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Helping patients overcome ostomy challenges

By Beth Hoffmire Heideman, MSN, RN No one wants an ostomy, but sometimes it’s required to save a patient’s life. As ostomy specialists, our role is to assess and intervene for patients with a stoma or an ostomy to enhance their quality of life. We play an active role in helping patients perform self-care for their ostomy and adjust to…

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Helping patients with lower-extremity disease benefit from exercise

By Jeri Lundgren, BSN, RN, PHN, CWS, CWCN Research has shown that exercise can help ease symptoms in patients with arterial insufficiency, venous insufficiency, neuropathic disease, or a combination of these conditions. Here’s what you need to know to ensure your patients reap the most benefits from exercise.

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Moldable ostomy barrier rings and strips

By Nancy Morgan, RN, BSN, MBA, WOC, WCC, DWC, OMS Each issue, Apple Bites brings you a tool you can apply in your daily practice. Here’s a brief overview on moldable, bendable, and stretchable adhesive rings and strips used to improve the seal around a stoma. Benefits Adhesive rings and strips can be an alternative to stoma paste for filling…

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Providing evidence-based care for patients with lower-extremity cellulitis

By Darlene Hanson, PhD, RN; Diane Langemo, PhD, RN, FAAN; Patricia Thompson, MS, RN; Julie Anderson, PhD, RN; and Keith Swanson, MD Cellulitis is an acute, painful, and potentially serious spreading bacterial skin infection that affects mainly the subcutaneous and dermal layers. Usually of an acute onset, it’s marked by redness, warmth, swelling, and tenderness. Borders of the affected skin…

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2015 Journal: May – June Vol. 4 No. 3
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2014 Journal: September – October Vol. 3 No. 5

Wound Care Advisor Journal Vol3 No5

Managing venous stasis ulcers

Venous disease, which encompasses all conditions caused by or related to diseased or abnormal veins, affects about 15% of adults. When mild, it rarely poses a problem, but as it worsens, it can become crippling and chronic.

Chronic venous disease often is overlooked by primary and cardiovascular care providers, who underestimate its magnitude and impact. Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) causes hypertension in the venous system of the legs, leading to various pathologies that involve pain, swelling, edema, skin changes, stasis dermatitis, and ulcers. An estimated 1% of the U.S. population suffers from venous stasis ulcers (VSUs). Causes of VSUs include inflammatory processes resulting in leukocyte activation, endothelial damage, platelet aggregation, and intracellular edema. Preventing VSUs is the most important aspect of CVI management.

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Becoming a wound care diplomat

By Bill Richlen, PT, WCC, CWS, DWC, and Denise Stetter, PT, WCC, DCCT The Rolling Stones may have said it best when they sang, “You can’t always get what you want,” a sentiment that also applies to wound care. A common frustration among certified wound care clinicians is working with other clinicians who have limited current wound care education and…

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Best of the best, the sequel

By Donna Sardina, RN, MHA, WCC, CWCMS, DWC, OMS Welcome to our second annual “Best of the Best” issue of Wound Care Advisor, the official journal of the National Alliance of Wound Care and Ostomy (NAWCO). This may be the first time you have held Wound Care Advisor in your hands because normally we come to you via the Internet.…

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Clinical Notes: Wound Photography, Lymphedema, GI Complaints

Wound photography may motivate patients Having patients view photographs of their wounds can motivate them to become more involved in managing those wounds, according to a study in International Wound Journal, particularly when wounds are in difficult-to-see locations.

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Clinician Resources: Opioid-Prescribing, Diabetes, Pressure Injuries

Here are a variety of resources you might want to explore. Considering opioid-prescribing practices Healthcare providers’ prescribing patterns for opioids vary considerably by state, according to a report in Vital Signs from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Here are some facts from the report: • Each day, 46 people die from an overdose of prescription painkillers in…

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safe negative-pressure wound therapy

Guidelines for safe negative-pressure wound therapy

By Ron Rock MSN, RN, ACNS-BC Since its introduction almost 20 years ago, negative-pressure wound therapy (NPWT) has become a leading technology in the care and management of acute, chronic, dehisced, traumatic wounds; pressure ulcers; diabetic ulcers; orthopedic trauma; skin flaps; and grafts. NPWT applies controlled suction to a wound using a suction pump that delivers intermittent, continuous, or variable…

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dietary protein intake promotes wound healing

How dietary protein intake promotes wound healing

By Nancy Collins, PhD, RD, LD/N, FAPWCA, and Allison Schnitzer Nutrition is a critical factor in the wound healing process, with adequate protein intake essential to the successful healing of a wound. Patients with both chronic and acute wounds, such as postsurgical wounds or pressure ulcers, require an increased amount of protein to ensure complete and timely healing of their…

11 comments

How to apply a spiral wrap

By Nancy Morgan, RN, BSN, MBA, WOC, WCC, DWC, OMS Each issue, Apple Bites brings you a tool you can apply in your daily practice. Description The spiral wrap is a technique used for applying compression bandaging. Procedure Here’s how to apply a spiral wrap to the lower leg. Please note that commercial compression wraps come with specific instructions for…

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how to assess wound exudate

How to assess wound exudate

By Nancy Morgan, RN, BSN, MBA, WOC, WCC, DWC, OMS Each issue, Apple Bites brings you a tool you can apply in your daily practice. Exudate (drainage), a liquid produced by the body in response to tissue damage, is present in wounds as they heal. It consists of fluid that has leaked out of blood vessels and closely resembles blood…

3 comments
wound care formulary and guideline

How to set up an effective wound care formulary and guideline

By Jeri Lundgren, BSN, RN, PHN, CWS, CWCN Navigating through the thousands of wound care products can be overwhelming and confusing. I suspect that if you checked your supply rooms and treatment carts today, you would find stacks of unused products. You also would probably find that many products were past their expiration dates and that you have duplicate products…

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It takes a village: Leading a wound team

By Jennifer Oakley, BS, RN, WCC, DWC, OMS I used to think I could do it alone. I took the wound care certification course, passed the certification exam, and took all of my new knowledge—and my new WCC credential—back to the long-term care facility where I worked. I was ready to change the world. It didn’t take me long to…

4 comments
Managing chronic venous leg ulcers — what’s the latest evidence?

Managing venous stasis ulcers

By Kulbir Dhillon, MSN, FNP, APNP, WCC Venous disease, which encompasses all conditions caused by or related to diseased or abnormal veins, affects about 15% of adults. When mild, it rarely poses a problem, but as it worsens, it can become crippling and chronic. Chronic venous disease often is overlooked by primary and cardiovascular care providers, who underestimate its magnitude…

9 comments

The DIME approach to peristomal skin care

By Catherine R. Ratliff, PhD, APRN-BC, CWOCN, CFCN It’s estimated that about 70% of the 1 million ostomates in the United States and Canada will experience or have experienced stomal or peristomal complications. Peristomal complications are more common, although stomal complications (for example, retraction, stenosis, and mucocutaneous separation) can often contribute to peristomal problems by making it difficult to obtain…

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2014 Journal: September – October Vol. 3 No. 5
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The long and short of it: Understanding compression bandaging

By Robyn Bjork, MPT, WCC, CWS, CLT-LANA

Margery Smith, age 82, arrives at your wound clinic for treatment of a shallow, painful ulcer on the lateral aspect of her right lower leg. On examination, you notice weeping and redness of both lower legs, 3+ pitting edema, several blisters, and considerable denude­ment of the periwound skin. She is wearing tennis shoes and her feet have relatively little edema, but her ankles are bulging over the edges of her shoes; both socks are wet. Stemmer’s sign is negative. The wound on the right leg is draining copious amounts of clear fluid; it’s dressed with an alginate, which is secured with conforming roll gauze. No signs or symptoms of infection are present. (more…)

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Bedside ankle-brachial index testing: Time-saving tips

By Robyn Bjork, MPT, CWS, WCC, CLT-LANA

A hot flush of embarrassment creates a bead of sweat on my forehead. “I’ve got to get this measurement,” I plead to myself. One glance at the clock tells me this bedside ankle-brachial index (ABI) procedure has already taken more than 30 minutes. My stomach sinks as I realize I’ll have to abandon the test as inconclusive. (more…)

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“We don’t have a Doppler”

By: Donna Sardina, RN, MHA, WCC, CWCMS, DWC

Venous leg ulcers are the most common cause of lower extremity ulcers, affecting 1% of the U.S. population (approximately 3 million people). Annual treatment costs for venous disease in this country range from $1.9 to $3.5 billion.

The gold standard for venous ulcer treatment includes moist wound healing and compression therapy. But before compression wraps are applied, we must determine if adequate arterial blood flow exists—or consequences could be life-threatening.

Raise your hand if you know what ABI is. Now raise your hand if you routinely obtain ABIs for patients. I’ve been asking these questions at wound care seminars around the country for the last 10 years, and the answers are always the same:
Between 50% and 95% of the audience know what an ABI is, but only 1% to 2% say they perform the ABI test. My next question is “Why not?”

The ABI (ankle brachial index) is a non­invasive screening test performed with a handheld vascular Doppler and a blood pressure cuff. This simple test helps determine if you can safely apply compression therapy, aids diagnosis of peripheral arterial disease, and even helps monitor the efficacy of therapeutic interventions.

Numerous standard practice guidelines from various organizations recommend obtaining ABIs to determine arterial blood flow. These organizations include the American College of Cardiology, American Heart Association, American Diabetes Association, Society for Vascular Nursing, Wound Ostomy Continence Nurses, Society for Vascular Medicine, U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, and World Union of Wound Healing Societies.

Instructions for most compression therapy products include indications for Doppler ABI readings above 0.8. So if you don’t get an ABI reading, how can you safely apply these products? A report by Allie and colleagues found that more than 50% of lower extremity amputations occur without previous vascular testing of any type, including ABI.

So why aren’t more practitioners obtaining ABIs? The leading answer: “We don’t have a Doppler.” I understand the dilemma of not having equipment or the funds to get the equipment. But do we want to tell a patient who has just lost her leg, “Oh, sorry. We didn’t have a Doppler”?

It’s our responsibility and duty as WCCs, wound care experts, and health care clinicians to ensure we provide the highest standard of care for patients with venous leg ulcers. So communicate with management, explaining what you need and why you need it. Work with your medical supply company for an extended payment plan. Hold a fundraiser. Consider using the alternative Lanarkshire Oximetry Index procedure. Or send the patient to a wound clinic or other healthcare provider who can perform the test.

It’s time to step it up and take greater accountability—and to no longer use the excuse “We don’t have a Doppler.”

Donna Sardina, RN, MHA, WCC, CWCMS, DWC
Editor-in-Chief
Wound Care Advisor
Cofounder, Wound Care Education Institute
Plainfield, Illinois

Selected references
Allie DE, Hebert CJ, Lirtzman MD, et al. Critical limb ischemia: a global epidemic. A critical analysis of current treatment unmasks the clinical and economic costs of CLI. EuroIntervention. 2005; 1(1):75-84. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/
19758881
. Accessed June 4, 2012.

Lazarus GS, Cooper DM, Knighton DR, et al. Definitions and guidelines for assessment of wounds and evaluation of healing. Arch Dermatol. 1994; 130(4):489-493. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8166487. Accessed June 4, 2012.

Mayfield JA, Reiber GE, Sanders LJ, Janisse D, Pogach LM. Preventive foot care in diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2004;27(suppl 1):S63-S64. doi:10.2337/diacare.27.2007.S63.
McGuckin M, Kerstein MD. Venous ulcers and the family physician. Adv Skin Wound Care. 1998;11(7): 344-346. http://journals.lww.com/aswcjournal/Abstract/1998/11000/Venous_Leg_Ulcers_and_the_Family_Physician.13.aspx. Accessed June 4, 2012.

Olin JW, Allie DE, Belkin M, et al. ACCF/AHA/ACR/SCAI/SIR/SVM/SVN/SVS 2010 performance measures for adults with peripheral artery disease: a report of the American College of Cardiology Foundation/American Heart Association Task Force on Performance Measures, the American College of Radiology, the Society for Cardiac Angiography and Interventions, the Society for Interventional Radiology, the Society for Vascular Medicine, the Society for Vascular Nursing, and the Society for Vascular Surgery (Writing Committee to Develop Performance Measures for Peripheral Artery Disease). J Am Coll Cardiol. 2010;56(25):2147-2181. http://content.onlinejacc
.org/cgi/content/full/j.jacc.2010.08.606
. Accessed June 4, 2012.

O’Meara S, Al-Kurdi D, Ologun Y, Ovington LG. Antibiotics and antiseptics for venous leg ulcers. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2010;(1):CD003557. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20091548. Accessed June 4, 2012.

Rooke TW, Hirsch AT, Misra S, et al; Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions; Society of Interventional Radiology; Society for Vascular Medicine; Society for Vascular Surgery. 2011 ACCF/AHA focused update of the guideline for the management of patients with peripheral artery disease (updating the 2005 guideline): a report of the American College of Cardiology Foundation/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2011;58(19):2020-2045. http://
content.onlinejacc.org/cgi/content/full/j.jacc.2011.08.023v1
. Accessed June 4, 2012.

U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Screening for peripheral arterial disease: brief evidence update. 2005. http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf05/pad/padup.htm. Accessed June 4, 2012.

Valencia IC, Falabella A, Kirsner RS, Eaglstein WH. Chronic venous insufficiency and venous leg ulceration. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2001;44(3):401-421. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11209109. Accessed June 4, 2012.

World Union of Wound Healing Societies. Principles of best practice:. Compression in venous leg ulcers: a consensus document. London: MEP Ltd; 2008. www.woundsinternational.com/pdf/content_25.pdf. Accessed June 4, 2012.

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