BACKGROUND: Venous leg ulceration (VLU) is a chronic and recurrent condition affecting roughly 0.6 percent of the western population. Apart from the immediate physical effects, individuals with VLU also experience significant psychosocial and financial implications. It is essential therefore, that VLU be managed effectively to decrease health care expenditure, and reduce the burden on community services. PROCEDURES: In a prospective, triple-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial, fifty-four clients with VLU from a large South Australian community nursing service were randomly allocated to receive Horsechestnut Seed Extract (HCSE) (n=27) or Placebo (n=27) for twelve weeks. Venous ulcers were assessed at weeks zero, four, eight and twelve utilising a wound assessment tool and the Alfred-Medseed Wound Imaging System (AMWIS). FINDINGS: The difference between groups in the number of healed venous leg ulcers, as well as the change in wound surface area, depth, volume, pain and exudation, was not found to be statistically significant. However, HCSE did have a significant effect on the percentage of wound slough over time (F=2.76, p=0.045), and in the number of dressing changes at week twelve (t=-2.71, p=0.009). CONCLUSION: Even though HCSE is likely to hamper the pathogenesis of venous insufficiency, and in turn, facilitate venous ulcer healing, the current study did not support such a claim. However, taking into account the small sample and insufficient power of the trial, and the significant improvement in wound slough and visit frequency, it appears that HCSE may be useful in the management of VLU.
- Horsechestnut; Venous ulceration; Randomised controlled trial
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