chronic wound
chronic wound Bild: Susan Lemson

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