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Venous Ulcers—An Evidence-Based Update

Spear, Marcia DNP, ACNP-BC, CWS, CPSN

doi: 10.1097/PSN.0b013e31827781b8
Departments: Wound Care Management

Leg ulceration can be defined as any chronic ulcer of the lower leg excluding those on the forefoot or toes (Lees & Lambert, 1992). Venous or stasis ulcers account for 80%–85% of all leg ulcers with an overall prevalence of approximately 1% in the United States (Collins & Seraj, 2010; O'Meara, Al-Kurdi, & Ovington, 2008). Venous ulcers are more common in women and the older population (Abbade & Lastoria, 2005; Bergqvist, Lindholm, & Nelzen, 1999). Venous ulcers are often recurrent and chronic and can persist from weeks to even years. Severe complications include cellulitis, osteomyelitis, and malignant changes (Collins & Seraj, 2010). This column discusses the pathophysiology of venous insufficiency and ulcerations, presentation, diagnosis, and current treatment.

Marcia Spear, DNP, ACNP-BC, CWS, CPSN, received her Doctor of Nursing Practice from Vanderbilt University School of Nursing. She is faculty at both the School of Medicine and the School of Nursing at Vanderbilt University. She has more than 20 years of experience in plastic surgery and wound care and is presently working as a nurse practitioner and Certified Wound Specialist for the Department of Plastic Surgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Address correspondence to Marcia Spear, DNP, ACNP-BC, CWS, CPSN, Department of Plastic Surgery, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, S-2221 Medical Center North, Nashville, TN 37232 (e-mail:

The author reports no conflicts of interest.

Copyright © 2012 by American Society of Plastic Surgical Nurses