LONDON (Reuters Health) – Contrary to previous findings, higher pressure bandages seem to be no better than lower pressure bandages at promoting venous ulcer healing, according to a report published in the January issue of The British Journal of Surgery.
Dr. F. J. Meyer and colleagues, from St. Thomas' Hospital in London, randomized 112 patients with venous ulcer disease to receive treatment with elastic (higher pressure) or inelastic (lower pressure) bandages. In all patients, the dressing consisted of a zinc-impregnated paste applied directly to the ulcer covered with the assigned bandage.
By 26 weeks, 58% of patients in the elastic bandage group and 62% in the inelastic bandage group had experienced ulcer healing. At 40 weeks, only one additional patient in each group demonstrated healing. The median healing times in both groups were close to 9 weeks. As expected, large ulcers took significantly longer to heal than small ulcers.
The current findings suggest "that there is little benefit in adding higher compression as a means of speeding ulcer healing," the investigators note. "Most ulcers heal with adequate compression within 26 weeks, and few ulcers heal after this time," they add.