A qualitative study on the patient's narrative in the progression of chronic venous disease into a first venous leg ulcer: a series of events

A. M. Meulendijks*, M. Welbie, E. P.M. Tjin, L. Schoonhoven, H. A.M. Neumann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Downloads (Pure)


Background: A venous leg ulcer (VLU) has a significant negative impact on quality of life. Prevention of a VLU is not yet imbedded in clinical practice because risk factors for developing a first VLU are not well known. Objectives: To explore further the progression of chronic venous disease (CVD) into a first VLU from the patient's perspective. Methods: A qualitative study using semistructured interviews was conducted among male and female patients with a VLU. Patients from primary and secondary care, under and over 50 years of age, and with first and recurrent VLUs were included. The interviews were transcribed and analysed using a narrative approach to a thematic analysis. Transcripts were organized in chronological order and an iterative process was used to code the transcripts. Results: Four key themes and the connections made between them emerged from the 11 narratives on the progression of CVD towards a first VLU: ‘comorbidity’, ‘mobility’, ‘work and lifestyle’ and ‘acknowledgment of CVD’. Comorbidity was linked to reduced mobility and late acknowledgment of CVD. Comorbidity also affected work and lifestyle and vice versa. Work and lifestyle affected mobility and was linked to the acknowledgment of CVD. Conclusions: A reduction in mobility as a result of comorbidity and work and lifestyle occurred before the VLU developed. Patients did not recognize symptoms of CVD and did not acknowledge the chronicity of CVD. Healthcare professionals should be aware of reductions in mobility and the knowledge deficit in patients with CVD. What's already known about this topic?. Not all patients with chronic venous disease (CVD) develop a venous leg ulcer (VLU). A patient's quality of life decreases significantly when a VLU develops. Risk factors for the development of a first VLU in patients with CVD are not well known, unlike risk factors for other chronic wounds like diabetic foot ulcer and pressure ulcers. What does this study add?. The patient's narrative towards the development of a first VLU, a series of events. Insight into the events (comorbidity, mobility, work and lifestyle) that patients themselves link to the development of a VLU. Insight into the patients’ acknowledgment of CVD in the progression of CVD towards a first VLU. What are the clinical implications of this work?. More awareness is needed of CVD symptoms among patients and healthcare providers, as well as more awareness for prevention of a VLU in clinical practice. New insights (for further studies) are needed into the concept of mobility and the development of a VLU. Improved patient education and follow-up are needed for patients with CVD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)332-339
Number of pages8
JournalBritish Journal of Dermatology
Issue number2
Early online date1 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2020


Dive into the research topics of 'A qualitative study on the patient's narrative in the progression of chronic venous disease into a first venous leg ulcer: a series of events'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this