Department of Dermatology, Universitätsklinikum Erlangen, Erlangen,
Department of Internal Medicine, Klinikum Fürth, Fürth,
Institute of Medical Psychology and Behavioral Immunobiology, Universitätsklinikum Essen (AöR), Germany
Background: The possible impact of nutritional status on healing and course of disease in patients with chronic wounds is widely suggested, however, most data are based on small groups of patients with no control group and minor afflictions. Clear diagnostic strategies are missing. Objectives: To analyse in detail the nutritional status of chronic wound patients relative to healthy controls based on a large patient population. Material and Methods: We screened a group of 50 patients for their nutritional status based on body mass index (BMI), the Mini-Nutritional Assessment (MNA), and Nutritional Risk Screening (NRS), as well as additional laboratory investigations. Twenty-five patients suffered from chronic venous leg ulcers and were compared with a matching control group of 25 patients with acute surgical wounds. Results: Patients with chronic venous leg ulcers showed significantly higher BMI, hyperhomocysteinaemia, and higher levels of serum copper but significantly lower levels of vitamin B6, B9 and C, as well as a significantly lower level of zinc. Vitamin D deficiency was present in both groups, however, severe vitamin D deficiency was present only in the leg ulcer group. Mobility was significantly reduced in patients with leg ulcers. Conclusion: Ulcer patients are often obese but suffer from qualitative malnutrition, including a lack of vitamin D, which might be explained by reduced mobility and being housebound. Hypoalbuminaemia, as a sign of protein deficiency, was observed significantly more often in patients with chronic leg ulcers, irrespective of wound area or wound duration.