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J Am Acad Dermatol. 1994 Jul;31(1):49-53.

A study of the impact of leg ulcers on quality of life: financial, social, and psychologic implications.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, Boston University School of Medicine, Massachusetts.



Leg ulcers affect probably 2.5 million persons in the United States, and their prevalence is likely to rise as the population ages. They cause considerable disability, and the cost of treating these chronic wounds is enormous.


The purpose of this study was to assess the financial, social, and psychologic implications of leg ulcers.


Data were collected by standardized personal interviews with 73 patients with chronic leg ulcers. The interview covered several domains that were selected to determine the impact of a leg ulcer on overall quality of life.


A significant number of patients had moderate to severe symptoms, principally pain, related to the leg ulcer. Eighty-one percent believed that their mobility was adversely affected by the ulcer; the dominant predictor of impaired mobility was swelling of the leg (p < 0.001). For younger, working patients, leg ulceration was correlated with time lost from work (p < 0.001), job loss (p < 0.01), and adverse effects on finances (p < 0.02). Fifty-eight percent of patients found caring for the ulcer burdensome. There was a strong correlation between time spent on ulcer care and feelings of anger and resentment. Sixty-eight percent of patients reported that the ulcer had a negative emotional impact on their lives, including feelings of fear, social isolation, anger, depression, and negative self-image.


Leg ulcers pose a substantial threat to a variety of dimensions of a patient's quality of life.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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