NewsApplying the Alphabet to Venous Leg Ulcer Management

Applying the Alphabet to Venous Leg Ulcer Management

Assessment and diagnosis, Leg Ulcers, Service delivery

Applying the Alphabet to Venous Leg Ulcer ManagementA new, alphabet-based approach to managing venous leg ulcers (VLUs) and encouraging the wider adoption of compression therapy has been recommended by an internationally-recognised group of clinical experts in venous disease. The consensus document, ‘Simplifying Venous Leg Ulcer Management’ was launched at the 2015 European Wound Management Association (EWMA) conference in London.

Supported by global science-based company 3M and published by Wounds International, the document recommends adopting a simple ABC model during the active treatment phase of VLUs:

  • A for Assessment and Diagnosis
  • B for Best Practice Wound and Skin Management
  • C for Compression Therapy

With around one per cent of the western population suffering from a VLU during their lifetime1 and a similar percentage of health care budgets spent on their treatment,VLUs are notoriously difficult to heal - taking almost 6 months in some cases.3

Despite published evidence that compression therapy can significantly increase VLU healing rates and reduce risk of recurrence1,4 it is still not widely adopted or consistently applied across Western Europe.

The consensus document has therefore been developed by eleven leading European clinicians to simplify the key principles involved in VLU management and to help healthcare professionals understand why, when and how compression therapy should be used. Its content includes:

  • diagnostics guidance by wound type
  • interpretation of the ankle-brachial pressure index for determining compression therapy level and need for referral
  • guidance on establishing the right compression level for different types of leg ulcer
  • checklist to support patient assessment and tips for the use of compression therapy

Healing targets for 'simple' VLUs of 100% healed within 12 weeks (minimum ≥70% healed within 18 weeks) and 100% healed within 18 weeks (minimum ≥70% healed within 24 weeks) for 'complex' ulcers are outlined as achievable goals. 

Speaking at the launch, Professor Giovanni Mosti commented, "The expert team is hopeful that this new consensus document will be widely used across Europe and further afield, helping to increase the adoption of compression therapy".

The full consensus document can be downloaded from 3M's free e-learning site Speaking about the company's involvement in its development, Cecile Hoehler, European Marketing manager said, "3M is delighted to be able to contribute to this valuable publication. It forms part of our ongoing commitment to continuous professional development for healthcare practitioners."

Notes to Editors
Media Contacts: Julie Owen: Tel 01509 613372

About 3M
At 3M, we collaborate and apply science in powerful ways to improve lives daily. With $32 billion in sales, our 90,000 employees connect with and serve customers all around the world.

The UK and Ireland is home to one of the largest 3M subsidiaries outside the USA, employing 3,000 people across 17 locations, including nine manufacturing sites.
Products manufactured in the UK include coated abrasives, personal safety equipment, adhesive tapes, industrial microbiology products, drug delivery systems, high-performance coatings and imaging systems.
Learn about 3M's creative solutions to the world's problems at or follow @3M_UK on Twitter.

About Wounds International
Wounds International is an integral part of WoundsGroup, a major international healthcare communications business with a global reach in wound management. It provides high-quality, independent medical education, reaching over 560,000 practitioners each year online and in print. Wounds International has a strong heritage in working in partnership with practitioners and industry to help close the gaps in healthcare provision and strengthen professional skills and knowledge for improved patient care. Further information can be found at


  1. O'Meara S, Cullum N, Nelson EA, Dumville JC. Compression for venous leg ulcers. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2012; 11:CD000265
  2. Nelzèn O. Leg ulcers: economic aspects. Phlebology 2000; 15; 110-14.
  3. Sauer K, Rothgang H, Glaeske G. BARMER GEK Heil- und Hilfsmittelreport 2014. Available from: http://www.zes.uni-bremen. de/uploads/News/2014/140916_Heil_Hilf_Report_2014.pdf
  4. Nelson EA, Bell-Syer SE. Compression for preventing recurrence of venous ulcers. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2014; 9: D002303