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Wound Repair Regen. 2005 May-Jun;13(3):218-29.

Efficacy of modern dressings in the treatment of leg ulcers: a systematic review.

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Agency for Health Technology Assessment, Madrid, Spain.


Healing of leg ulcers constitutes a major clinical problem. Local methods for accelerating the healing process include modern wound dressings, but it is unclear what impact these dressings have on ulcer healing. This study examines the collective evidence on the effectiveness of modern dressings in the treatment of leg ulcers. To this end, a meta-analysis was conducted covering randomized clinical trials identified following a systematic review of the literature in different databases. Estimates of effect were calculated according to the fixed effects model. Thirty-one studies met the inclusion criteria (26 on ulcers of venous etiology, 5 on ulcers of mixed or poorly differentiated etiology). We found no study that exclusively addressed arterial ulcers. Although studies displayed considerable methodological limitations, analysis showed no significant differences in terms of the proportion of healed ulcers or reduction in wound size for both modern and conventional dressings. Similarly, no significant differences were observed between the different modern dressings compared in the studies. Thus, the current medical literature is poor in supporting the use of modern dressings to improve the healing rate of leg ulcers. There is insufficient evidence to determine whether the choice of any specific dressing type affects the healing course of these ulcers. Well-conducted trials are warranted to reliably address this question.

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