Cost-of-illness of leg ulcers in the community

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Leg ulcer management is complex, time-consuming and of high socio-economic importance. Data on cost-of-illness in leg ulcer care are sparse. The objective of this study was to evaluate the cost-of-illness in leg ulcer treatment in the metropolitan area of Hamburg. About 147 institutions involved in wound care participated in a cross-sectional study. Patients consecutively recruited underwent a standardised interview and clinical examination. Main economic outcomes were direct, indirect and intangible costs from a societal perspective. Five hundred and two patients with a mean age of 71 years and mean wound duration of 9 years were enrolled. Annual total costs summed up to a mean of 9060/patient/year (8288 direct, 772 indirect costs). Direct costs carried by statutory health insurances amounted to 7680, patients themselves paid on average 607. Leg ulcer is associated with high costs for health insurances, patients and the society. Exploratory predictor analyses suggest that early, interprofessional disease-management could lower treatment costs.

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