Fact #1 – What is a chronic wound?
A chronic wound is a wound that develops very slowly and remains over a longer period of time. More precisely, a wound is deemed „chronic” if it does not respond to professional treatment within 4 to 12 weeks or show any healing tendency.
Fact #2 – Formation and causes
The chronic wound and the related poor healing of the wound can be traced back to immune system diseases, circulatory problems or peripheral arterial occlusive disease, a so-called ulcerated leg (Ulcus Cruris). Chronic wounds can also result from long-term smoking or be caused by sugar diseases like diabetes mellitus. Often, heavily bedridden patients suffer from bedsores, or decubitus, which is also classified as a chronic wound.
Fact #3 – Treatment
Treatment varies depending on the cause of the wound. For example, compression therapy is an integral part of professional treatment for Ulcus Cruris. If this is carried out professionally and correctly, positive results can already be observed after a short period of time, for example in the form of oedema reduction.
There are also various wound dressings for treating a chronic wound, which have different effects. Here are some examples:
- Hydrogels – These are liquid gels which soften the fibrin coating, thereby cleansing the wound.
- Alginates – These absorb liquid and secretions from the wound and cleanse it.
- Super absorbers – Even under pressure, these can retain large amounts of water, thus keeping the wound dry.
- Foam dressings - Absorb water and secretions.
- Hydrocolloids - These protect the wound, but absorb little or barely any water.
- Films – Protect the wound and are transparent.
Fact #4 – Healing process and duration
In some cases, a chronic wound can last for several years. For the patients, this means a considerable reduction in quality of life – particularly through symptoms such as chronic pain, wetness, and a very unpleasant smell, the patient experiences a kind of stigma, which can also negatively impact their mental state. The majority of their daily life consists of constantly changing the wound dressing.
Fact #5 – Spreading
In Germany, between 800,000 and 900,000 people suffer from a chronic wound. In 2014, 48,000 amputations of feet, lower legs, and limbs could be attributed to chronic wounds. In order to counteract the suffering, new methods of treatment and possible therapies, which would be less costly and have better results, are constantly being researched.
Untertitel: When treating a chronic wound, compression therapy may be used.
Quelle: Focus, ApothekenUmschau, B. Braun