Association of Pain Level, Health and Wound Status in Patients with Chronic Leg Ulcers
Regina Renner, Kurt Seikowski, Jan C. Simon
Pain is a ubiquitous problem in patients with chronic leg wounds. The pain may be caused by the underlying pathology of the leg ulceration, the wound, wound treatment, or complications such as skin irritation around the ulcer. The objectives of this research were to evaluate the level of suffering endured by patients because of their ulcer-related pain, and to evaluate whether and how this pain is treated. In addition, to determine whether this pain influences quality of life and health status. In 2010, data were collected in order to characterize the patients by socio-demographic facts, such as age, gender, co-morbidity, pathogenesis of the wound, wound status of new patients, wound pain, and use of analgesics. In addition, modified EQ-5D questionnaires were distributed with additional questions concerning pain experience, treatment, and general health status. Of 103 patients, 45 were male and 58 female. Mean age was 67.8 years (males 65 years, females 70 years). Up to 69% had leg ulcerations due to vascular disease. Out of the 103 distributed questionnaires, 49 were returned and evaluated. Analysis showed that 82% of these patients reported wound-related pain, and 42% estimated their analgesics as not sufficiently pain relieving (mean value of the visual analogue scale (VAS) 4.9). Mean health status was 50.5 (maximal health status 100). Patients with a pain value ≥ 5 showed a lesser mean health status (42.2) than patients with a pain value < 5 (60.3). The proportion of patients receiving no, or only weak, analgesics was nearly the same for patients with VAS ≥ 5 and with VAS < 5. Further research in pain therapy is of utmost importance to improve the quality of life of patients with chronic wounds.