A randomised controlled trial of compression therapies for the treatment of venous leg ulcers (VenUS 6): study protocol for a pragmatic, multicentre, parallel group, three arm randomised controlled trial

Catherine Ellen Arundel, Charlie Welch, Pedro Rafael Saramago Goncalves, U Adderley, R Atkinson, Ian Chetter, N. Cullum, T Davill, J Griffiths, Catherine Elizabeth Hewitt, C Hirst, M Kletter, J Mullings, G Roberts, B Smart, Marta O Soares, P Stather, L Strachan, N. Stubbs, David John TorgersonJude Watson, Sabeen Zahra, J. Dumville

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Venous leg ulcer(s), are common, recurring, open wounds on the lower leg, resulting from diseased or damaged leg veins impairing blood flow. Wound healing is the primary treatment aim for venous leg ulceration, alongside management of pain, wound exudate and infection.
Full (high) compression therapy delivering 40mmHg of pressure at the ankle is the recommended first line treatment for venous leg ulcers. There are several different forms of compression therapy available including wraps, two-layer hosiery, and two-layer or four-layer bandages.

There is good evidence for the clinical and cost effectiveness of four-layer bandage and two-layer hosiery but more limited evidence for other treatments (two-layer bandage and compression wraps). Robust evidence is required to compare clinical and cost effectiveness of these and to investigate which is the best compression treatment for reducing time to healing of venous leg ulcers whilst offering value for money. VenUS 6 will therefore investigate the clinical and cost effectiveness of evidence-based compression, two-layer bandage and compression wraps for time to healing of venous leg ulcers.

VenUS 6 is a pragmatic, multi-centre, three arm, parallel group, randomised controlled trial. Adult patients with a venous leg ulcer will be randomised to receive 1) compression wraps, 2) two-layer bandage or 3) evidence-based compression (two-layer hosiery or four-layer bandage).

Participants will followed up for between 4 and 12 months. The primary outcome will be time to healing (full epithelial cover in absence of a scab) in days since randomisation. Secondary outcomes will include key clinical events (e.g., healing of the reference leg; ulcer recurrence; ulcer/skin deterioration, amputation, admission/discharge, surgery to close/remove incompetent superficial veins, infection, or death), treatment changes, adherence and ease of use, ulcer related pain, health-related quality of life and resource use.

VenUS 6 will provide robust evidence on the clinical and cost-effectiveness of the different forms of compression therapies for venous leg ulceration.
VenUS 6 opened to recruitment in January 2021 and is currently recruiting across 30 participating centres.

Clinical Trial Registry: ISRCTN 67321719 (https://doi.org/10.1186/ISRCTN67321719). Prospectively Registered: 14.09.2020

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 5 May 2023

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