Advanced therapies available for patients suffering with non-healing wounds
UH Clinical Update - January 2018
By Windy Cole, DPM
Medical Director, Wound Care Center, UH Ahuja Medical Center
Associate Professor and Director of Wound Care Research, Kent State University College of Podiatric Medicine
Chronic, or non-healing, wounds represent a significant burden to patients, health care professionals and the U.S. health care industry. Estimates show that 6.7 million patients are suffering from non-healing advanced wounds, and the cost to treat these conditions exceeds $50 billion annually in the U.S. alone.
Why do wounds fail to heal? There are several common causes. One of the biggest risk factors is having diabetes; 9.5 percent of the U.S. population has this disease. Forecasts predict that this number will grow at a rate of 2 percent annually over the next decade. Patients affected with diabetes often develop neuropathy, reduced sensation in their hands and feet, causing them not to feel injuries right away. Diabetes can also interfere with blood flow so that these wounds are slower to heal.
Another common cause of non-healing ulcers is a dysfunction within the vascular system. Over 1 million people suffer from peripheral vascular wounds combined. When leg veins fail to return blood flow to the heart efficiently, the extra fluid can accumulate in the tissues. This fluid can lead to skin breakdown and ulcer development. Arterial ulcers are less common. They occur when arteries fail to bring blood flow into an area. Tissues die and ulcers develop due to lack of circulation. These wounds are extremely painful.
Given the aging population and increasing prevalence of chronic health conditions, we are also seeing a growing number of wounds caused by pressure, typically referred to as “bed sores.” Annually 2.5 million patients over the age of 75 acquire a pressure ulcer. This represents 13.2 percent of our population and is on the rise.
These staggering statistics exhibit the expanding need for specialized wound care sectors in the health care industry. Given the climate of health care today and the increasing need for advanced wound care therapies in this growing patient population, we are proud to provide this care to patients at UH Ahuja Medical Center. Our clinic, open in the Ahuja Heart & Vascular Institute, brings advanced therapies to patients suffering with non-healing wounds.
To refer a patient, please contact us at 216-593-1308.