Identifying risk factors associated with infection in patients with chronic leg ulcers

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Leg ulcers are hard to heal. Infection causes delayed healing, negatively impacting patients’ quality of life, the healthcare system, and society. Early recognition of patients at high risk of infection is essential to prevent complications and reduce negative impacts. However, at present, factors associated with infection in this population are not yet clearly understood.

The study aimed to identify factors that were significantly associated with infection in chronic leg ulcers. A sample of 561 patients with chronic leg ulcers, who were previously recruited at outpatient clinics and community settings within Australia between 2008 and 2015, were selected for the current analysis. The prevalence of infection in the sample at study recruitment was 7.8%.

A multivariate logistic regression model was used to identify factors associated with infection. The study identified 7 factors that were significantly independently associated with infection, including depression, chronic pulmonary disease, anti-coagulant use, calf ankle circumference ratio < 1.3, ulcer area ≥ 10 cm2, slough in the wound bed tissue, and ulcers with heavy exudate.

These findings could assist clinicians in the early recognition of patients at risk of infection and individualise treatment for these patients, thereby promoting wound healing.

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