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Ostomy Wound Manage. 2006 Apr;52(4):68-70, 72-4, 76-8.

Using horsechestnut seed extract in the treatment of venous leg ulcers: a cost-benefit analysis.

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School of Health Sciences, University of South Australia, North Terrace Adelaide, South Australia 5000.


Venous leg ulcers affect approximately 0.6% of the western population, consuming millions of healthcare dollars every year. To determine whether an alternative venous ulcer treatment using horsechestnut seed extract-- Aesculus hippocastanum-- and conventional therapy involving dressings and compression was more cost-effective than using conventional therapy alone, a 12-week cost-benefit analysis of horsechestnut seed extract therapy was conducted. The study, using data from a 12-week prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled trial conducted in South Australia in 2002-2004, involved 54 patients with venous ulceration who received treatment through a large South Australian district nursing service. Taking into account the cost of horsechestnut seed extract, dressing materials, travel, staff salaries, and infrastructure for each patient, horsechestnut seed extract therapy combined with conventional therapy was found to be more cost-effective than conventional therapy alone with an average savings of AUD 95 in organizational costs and AUD 10 in dressing materials per patient. This study confirms that dressing change frequency has a significant impact on the total cost of wound care and suggests that district nursing service operation efficiency may be enhanced through the use of horsechestnut seed extract as a result of less frequent nursing visits. Further study of this treatment modality is warranted.

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