Microcirculatory changes in travelers to a tropical country

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BackgroundTravelers to tropical areas seem to be affected by nonhealing leg ulcers more frequently. One of the factors that can affect wound healing in a negative manner is leg edema. This study was performed to determine whether there is increased leg edema in travelers to tropical areas.MethodIn this study, we measured the capillary filtration rate (CFR) of the lower leg by strain gauge plethysmography, as a measure of leg edema, on location in Surinam. Three groups were included: A, travelers in the first few weeks after arrival; B, travelers who had stayed in the tropics for a minimum of 2 months; C, native inhabitants.ResultsThe mean CFR (mL/100 mL tissue/min) was significantly higher in group A than in groups B and C; the difference between groups B and C was not significant (group A 0.05 mL/100 mL tissue/min (standard deviation (SD), 0.03) vs. group B 0.02 mL/100 mL tissue/min (SD, 0.02), P = 0.01, and vs. group C 0.02 mL/100 mL tissue/min (SD, 0.02), P = 0.01).ConclusionsTravelers to tropical areas are affected by increased CFR in the first few weeks after arrival. A prolonged stay leads to the normalization of the CFR. Compression therapy is recommended for travelers to the tropics.

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