Treating venous leg ulcers with Extracorporeal Shockwave Technology (ESWT)

Treating venous leg ulcers with Extracorporeal Shockwave Technology (ESWT)Aims: Extracorporeal shockwave technology (ESWT) delivers high-energy acoustic shock waves to the body. With clinical applications in urolithiasis and orthopaedics, there is emerging evidence for its use to facilitate healing for diabetes related foot ulcers and burns. This study sought to examine the benefit of ESWT therapy on venous leg ulcers.Method: A case series was conducted in 2016. During the study period, seven clinic patients were identified who met the eligibility criteria and consented to ESWT treatment; six of whom additionally provided written informed consent to have their details included in the case series.  Results: Participants (n=6) had a mean age of 78.67 years (SD=9.97) and wound duration of 34.80 weeks (SD=23.02). A reduction in wound size was observed for five patients. Only one patient, while achieving improved tissue quality, had an increased wound size and an alternative aetiology was subsequently considered. Client acceptability was high; pain was reported by only one patient during two of their five treatments and was concurrent with the pain at the dressing change in general. Capacity to implement the EWST as frequently as prescribed (weekly) was not feasible for most patients due to a combination of patient and clinic factors. The treatment was easy to implement for clinicians. Discussion: The case series suggests promising outcomes of ESWT therapy for venous leg ulcers that warrants further investigation using more controlled research methods.