Lower Extremity Ulcers and Angiosomes

What is an angiosome and how does it relate to wound healing? A grand prize-winning Wild On Wounds poster presenter discusses how angiosomes can help identify patients who need vascular intervention.

When Dianna Dashner, MSN, FNP-C, WCC, CLNC, LLE presented her grand prize-winning poster, “A Look At Lower Extremity Ulcers and the Importance of Angiosomes,” during the 2017 Wild On Wounds national conference, she learned that angiosomes were unfamiliar to many of the attendees.  She was especially eager to provide this information to nurses, who remain the first line of defense for the physician in treating the patient. Dianna hopes her poster will continue to help bedside clinicians recognize when a patient needs vascular intervention. She notes, “Identifying those patients at risk for vascular narrowing or occlusion earlier will lead to a decrease in health care costs as well as improve patient outcomes.”

What is an Angiosome?

An agiosome is a specific area of the body to which an artery supplies blood flow. Angiosomes are located throughout the body. In wound care, however, we tend to focus on angiosomes in the lower extremities. That’s where we see arterial issues that impede wound healing. (For a discussion of lower extremity ulcers, see “Venous, Arterial or Mixed Ulcer… How Do I know for Sure?“).

Let’s say your wound patient has low perfusion to a lower extremity.  If you know which artery supplies blood flow to the area with the wound, then you can refer the patient for vascular testing sooner.  Appropriate vascular intervention may then allow you to heal the wound without further complication. In other words, for patients with critical limb ischemia (CLI), correlating the angiosomes to ulceration location can increase the chance for limb salvage.

The Case Study

To illustrate the role of angiosomes, Dianna discusses a case.  An 88-year-old female presented with a non-healing wound on the posterior aspect of her right lower leg.  The bedside nurse was able to identify, based on the photos, angiogram and props, the angiosomes that were suspicious for occlusion or narrowing.  Learn more about the case– including the intervention that led to rapid healing– in the Dianna’s short YouTube video (also embedded at the top).

Angiosomes and Lower Extremity Ulcers

Did You Know About Angiosomes?

Were you familiar with angiosomes and their connection to wound location? Have you used this concept to help refer your patients with lower extremity ulcers for vascular testing?  We’d love to hear your stories below. And if you have your own interesting wound care case to share, create a poster for the 2018 Wild On Wound national conference (September 12-15 in Las Vegas).

Want to enhance your knowledge of skin and wound management? Wild on Wounds℠ (WOW) is the can’t-miss national wound conference for healthcare professionals. Clinicians come from all over the US to see, touch and participate in our hands-on workshops. In addition, learn about new and advanced wound care treatments and technologies to better help care for their patients.  For details, visit www.woundseminar.com.

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