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International Working Group Issues Comprehensive Guidelines for Using Compression Therapy in Venous Leg Ulcers.

Consensus Document Promotes Consistent Standards of Care for Chronic Health Problem

TORONTO -- The first international best practice guidelines on using compression therapy for the treatment of venous leg ulceration (VLU) and chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) were unveiled today at the 3rd Congress of the World Union of Wound Healing Societies. The consensus document, Principles of Best Practice: Compression in Venous Leg Ulcers, was developed by an expert working group to help clinicians meet the challenges of achieving effective compression1 - the 'gold standard' of treatment for this chronic, debilitating and costly medical problem.2

"Compression is a cornerstone of management of many patients with lower leg wounds. While there have been many developments in recent years, specific guidance is needed to help clinicians determine where, when and how to use compression for the wide range of problems that are seen in practice," said Professor Keith Harding, Chair of the Working Group and Head of the Wound Healing Research Unit, Cardiff University, UK. "This document provides busy clinicians with an essential, pragmatic, evidence-based resource to help ensure the patients they are treating receive the best care possible."

Endorsed by the World Union of Wound Healing Societies, the consensus document is available in five languages (English, French, German, Spanish and Italian) on the organization's Web site at www.wuwhs.org. The document is also available through Medical Education Partnership Ltd. (www.mepltd.co.uk), the medical education company responsible for its publication.

The consensus document presents key care issues for VLU and CVI patients in a user-friendly, easy-to-navigate and practical manner that ensures the transfer of knowledge into practice to improve the standard of care for patients. Highlights include1:

* Definitions of key terms surrounding compression and recommendations on usage where there is ambiguity

* Description of available treatment options, including bandaging materials and other compression systems, such as intermittent pneumatic compression (IPC)

* Assessment approaches and staged management plans to assist in goal setting and appropriate clinical decision-making

* Problem solving guidance for managing key factors affecting compression as well as complications of treatment and tolerance issues - summarized in a handy chart

"A number of factors, including variations in terminology that can be ambiguous or inconsistent, a myriad of bandaging materials and application techniques, and a lack of understanding of the properties of the various options can lead to confusion and ineffective care," added Harding. "We hope these guidelines will help create a common international language that will lead to a common understanding, and ultimately, enhanced patient care."

The working group, comprised of 21 international compression experts from North America, Europe and Asia, developed the consensus document with an educational grant from ConvaTec. The principles presented in the document build upon the recent monograph Chronic Venous Insufficiency and Venous Ulceration - Aetiology and Treatment which also was supported by ConvaTec and made available at the European Wound Management Association 2008 Congress in May.

About Chronic Venous Insufficiency and Venous Leg Ulcers2

CVI, one of the most common diseases in developed countries, occurs when the veins are unable to effectively return blood to the heart. As a result, the blood pools in the extremities and leaks into the surrounding tissue, leading to edema and inflammation. Over time, CVI can lead to the development of venous leg ulcers, a debilitating, chronic condition in which ulcerous wounds form. VLUs are a growing problem, especially among the overweight and elderly, that results in loss of work productivity and reduced quality of life. Compression is the mainstay of treatment; however VLUs are often hard to heal because of difficulties and frustrations with currently available options.

About ConvaTec

For nearly 30 years, ConvaTec has been a pioneer in developing and marketing innovative wound therapeutics and ostomy care products that have helped improve the lives of millions of people worldwide. Today, ConvaTec continues to be at the forefront of the movement to change the way health care professionals are managing chronic and acute wounds, emphasizing the principles of advanced wound healing and evidence-based medicine. From its headquarters in Skillman, New Jersey, the company oversees more than 3,400 employees in 91 countries serving patients and their healthcare professionals on six continents. For more information, please visit www.convatec.com.

About the World Union of Wound Healing Societies (WUWHS)

The WUWHS is a consortium of associations of health care professionals with a single mission: to enhance the lives of persons with wounds worldwide with an emphasis on developing countries. The executive team of the WUWHS includes opinion leaders in wound care from Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Denmark, the United Kingdom and the United States. Every four years, the WUWHS brings together different disciplines, different cultures and nationalities working toward a universal solution to improve patient outcomes.

GO-08-1373-CA/US

References

1. World Union of Wound Healing Societies (WUWHS). Principles of best practice: Compression in venous leg ulcers. A consensus document. London: MEP Ltd, 2008.

2. Chronic Venous Insufficiency and Venous Ulceration - Aetiology and Treatment. EWMA 2008. Data on file, ConvaTec.
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