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Wound Care

Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas

 
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Wounds & Chronic Infections 

Chronic infections, sometimes called ulcers, are wounds that have a biological or physiological reason for not healing, regardless of the the amount of time the wound has been present. If unrecognized and untreated, chronic wounds (such as a leg ulcer from a vein problem; foot wound in a person with diabetes;a bed sore, or an infected wound) may cause serious health complications.

Chronic wounds can be recognized by the loss of skin and/or tissue surrounding the wound and intensive medical intervention is typically necessary for the wound to heal. There are several types of chronic wounds and each has its own causes and treatment regimens.

Ulcers

Arterial Ulcers
Resulting from an inadequate blood supply (typically caused by atherosclerosis or fatty plaque build-up in the arteries), the arteries narrow and harden, resulting in poor blood circulation. Even a small scratch may not heal properly due to the compromised blood supply, and can lead to the development of this type of ulcer.

Diabetic Ulcers
Diabetes causes an increased risk for developing foot ulcers, or sores. Foot ulcers are the most common reason for hospital stays for people with diabetes. It may take weeks or even several months for these oftentimes painless foot ulcers to heal.

Pressure Ulcers
An area of skin that breaks down from remaining in one position for too long without shifting body weight. It begins as reddened skin but gets progressively worse, forming a blister, then an open sore, and finally a deep dent in the skin. The most common places for pressure ulcers are over bony areas like the elbow, heels, hips, ankles, shoulders, back, and the back of the head.

Venous Ulcers
Commonly found above the ankle, but below the knee, these ulcers cause the leg to become swollen, causing the skin surrounding the ulcer to become dry, itchy, and sometimes brownish in color. Venous ulcers are occur when blood flows backward through the circulatory system, causing the veins to become elongated and dilated. The tissue surrounding those veins no longer receives a good supply of fresh blood, including the infection-fighting white blood cells. As a result, toxins remain in the tissue and the site may become ulcerated.

Stomas

Some individuals experience an injury or disease in the digestive system which requires an ileostomy, allowing the body to get rid of waste in another manner. The ileostomy creates an opening in the belly called a stoma, where waste can pass through into a pouch that collects it. Caring and emptying a stoma pouch is critical and the Comprehensive Wound Center provides individualized education and treatment for patients.