Extracorporeal shock wave therapy for management of chronic ulcers in the lower extremities.Ultrasound Med Biol 2008; 34(8):1261-71UM
Management of chronic ulcers in the lower extremities is still a challenge for patients and health providers. Recent studies showed extracorporeal shock waves (ESW) as effective in stimulating growth factors, inducing angiogenesis and healing of fractures and injuries. This study was planned to investigate the opportunity of introducing the ESW in the treatment of chronic wounds. Thirty consecutive patients with chronic posttraumatic, venous and diabetic ulcers, unresponsive to conservative or advanced dressing treatments, were counseled about the use of ESW as alternative treatment for their wounds. Thirty-two wounds were treated and 16 wounds healed completely within six sessions of ESW. In all of the nonhealed wounds, decrease of the amount of exudates, increased percentage of granulation tissue compared with fibrin/necrotic tissue and decrease of wounds' size were statistically significant after four to six sessions of ESW (p < 0.01). Significant decrease of pain was reported (p < 0.001). Comparison with a control group of 10 patients with chronic ulcer treated on the basis of regular dressings confirmed the statistical significant improvement in the healing process (p < 0.01). ESW therapy seems to be a safe, feasible and cost-effective treatment for chronic ulcers in the lower extremities. Further research and clinical trials are necessary to evaluate dose and time intervals of sessions to standardize a protocol of treatment in the management of chronic wounds.