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Contact Sensitization to Modern Wound Dressings in 70 Patients With Chronic Leg Ulcers

Renner, Regina MD*†; Simon, Jan C. MD*; Treudler, Regina MD*

doi: 10.1097/DER.0b013e318284d9f2

Background: Patients with chronic leg ulcers typically experience contact allergy to topical treatments. Although declared as hypoallergenic, modern wound dressings have caused several reported cases of contact allergy.

Objective: The aim of the study was to evaluate any allergenic potential of modern wound dressings in patients with leg ulcers.

Methods: Seventy-one patients were included in our prospective observation. Patch tests were performed with a selection of 10 modern wound dressings and with selected allergens according to series of the German Contact Dermatitis Research Group (DKG).

Results: Of 70 patients eligible for evaluation, 12 (17%) were positive for the hydrogel NuGel, followed by the hydrocolloid NuDerm (n = 7/70, 10%) and the ionic silver−containing wound dressing Aquacel Ag and the gauze Adaptic (both n = 4/70, 5%). Patients with recalcitrant ulcers of prolonged duration showed a significant higher number of epicutaneous sensitizations to wound dressings than patients with shorter ulcer duration.

Conclusions: The allergenic potential of modern wound dressings should not be underestimated. There is need for precise declaration of all ingredients.

Author Information

From the *Klinik für Dermatologie, Venerologie und Allergologie, Universitätsklinikum Leipzig A.ö.R., Leipzig; and †Hautklinik, Universitätsklinikum Erlangen, Erlangen, Germany (current address).

Address reprint requests to Regina Renner, MD, Hautklinik im INZ, Ulmenweg 18, 91054 Erlangen, Germany. E-mail:

The authors have no funding or conflicts of interest to declare.

© 2013 American Contact Dermatitis Society

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