Nutrition, tissue oxygenation, and healing of venous leg ulcers


Wipke-Tevis DD




J Vasc Nurs


The purpose of the prospective study described in this article was to explore nutrition, tissue oxygenation, and healing in venous ulcer patients. Nutritional risk, anthropometric measures, biochemical indices, two 3-day dietary records, and transcutaneous tissue oxygen levels were obtained. Wound surface area was evaluated 2 times, 4 weeks apart. A convenience sample of 25 English-speaking persons with 1 or more venous ulcers participated (mean age 59.8 years, 60% men, 48% white). Moderate or high nutritional risk existed in 84% of the persons in the sample. Based on body mass index, more than 50% of the persons in the sample were obese. Nonetheless, 17 of 25 persons in the sample had 1 or more abnormal biochemical nutritional indices. In addition, caloric intake (17 of 20), protein intake (15 of 20), and zinc intake (17 of 20) were inadequate to meet the needs for healing. No statistically significant relationships were found between biochemical nutritional indices, tissue oxygenation, and healing. The women in the sample were more likely to heal than were the men (P < 0.05). This study begins to document the problems of overnutrition and undernutrition in the venous ulcer population. Future studies need to explore the effects of obesity and inadequate intake on the healing of venous ulcers. Additional examination of the differences between men and women also is warranted to identify predictors of venous ulcer healing.