OBJECTIVE--To determine which social and clinical factors are associated with healing in patients with venous ulceration. DESIGN--Patients were questioned about social factors at their first visit to a community ulcer clinic. They were treated by high compression bandage system and were interviewed again after 12 weeks. SETTING--Community leg ulcer clinics held in health centres throughout Riverside Health Authority in London. PATIENTS--All patients referred to five community leg ulcer clinics with venous ulceration over a six month period. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--These were factors significantly associated with healing within 12 weeks of beginning treatment, measured by odds ratio (OR) given by logistic regression analysis. MAIN RESULTS--Of 168 patients with venous ulceration, 87 (52%) healed after 12 weeks of treatment. Univariate analysis showed that low social class (OR = 3.44, 95% CI 1.17, 10.14), lack of central heating (OR = 2.22, 95% CI 1.18, 4.18), and being single (OR = 2.77, 95% CI 1.15, 6.69) were all significantly associated with delayed healing. After adjustment for the known risk factors of ulcer size, ulcer duration, and general mobility only lack of central heating was still significant (OR = 2.27, 95% CI 1.11, 4.55). The remaining factors failing to achieve statistical significance because of their inter-relationship with the known risk factors. CONCLUSIONS--Clinical features of the ulcer seem to determine the progress of healing in patients with leg ulceration. Although there were associations between socio-economic factors and poor healing, adjustment for clinical risk factors generally led to lower non-significant associations. Only lack of central heating retained its association and may play a part in prolonging healing of venous ulceration.
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