Uncommon leg ulcers in the lower extremity
Objective: To determine the prevalence of uncommon ulcers, unrelated to venous or arterial etiology, in patients presenting to vascular clinics. Methods: This was a multicenter prospective study of consecutive patients presenting with lower extremity ulceration. The settings were university hospital outpatient centers and venous clinics. A total of 799 limbs in 710 patients with leg ulcers were evaluated. Patients with venous ulcer disease and with evidence of arterial disease with an ankle-brachial index less than 0.7 were excluded from the study. Out of 710 patients, 17 patients with a total of 21 limbs fit the criteria for inclusion. All limbs included in this study underwent physical examination, ankle-brachial index measurements, duplex ultrasonography, and skin biopsies. Results: The mean age of patients with uncommon ulcers was 65.6 years, and the mean duration was 5.5 years. A total of 2.1% of all leg ulcers seen were due to uncommon etiology unrelated to venous or arterial pathology. Most of these ulcers were located in the medial lower calf (n = 19). In six patients with ulcers, the histology did not reveal any specific cause; five had a neoplasia, three had chronic inflammation, two had sickle cell disease, two had vasculitis, one had rheumatoid arthritis, one had pyoderma gangrenosum, and one had ulcer due to hydroxyurea. Conclusions: The prevalence of leg ulcers unrelated to arterial and venous disease that presented with signs and symptoms of chronic venous disease was 2.1%. Their etiology is variable, most often including vasculitis, neoplasia, metabolic disorders, infection, and other rare causes. Early identification of uncommon ulcers may facilitate timely and appropriate management. © 2007 The Society for Vascular Surgery.