Wool-derived keratin dressings versus usual care dressings for treatment of slow healing venous leg ulceration: a randomised controlled trial (Keratin4VLU)

Andrew Jull, Angela Wadham, Chris Bullen, Varsha Parag, Carolina Weller, Jill Waters

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To determine the effect of a keratin dressing for treating slow-to-heal venous leg ulcers (VLU) on VLU healing.
Pragmatic parallel group randomised controlled trial.
Community-dwelling participants.
People aged 18 or more years with VLU (either present for more than 26 weeks or ulcer area larger than 5 cm2 or both).
Wool-derived keratin dressing or usual care formulary of non-medicated dressings, on a background treatment with compression.
Primary and secondary outcome measures
Healing at 24 weeks based on blinded assessment of ulcer photographs. Other outcomes included time to complete healing, change in ulcer area to 24 weeks, change in health-related quality of life and incidence of adverse events.
We screened 1068 patients with VLU and randomised 143 participants (51.1% of target recruitment), 71 to the keratin dressing group and 72 to the usual care group.The mean age was 66.1 years (SD 15.9) and 53 participants (37.1%) were women. There were no significant differences between the groups on the primary outcome (risk difference −6.4%, 95% CI −22.5% to 9.7%), change in ulcer area (−1.9 cm2, 95% CI −16.5 to 12.8 cm2), time to complete healing (HR 0.80, 95% CI 0.52 to 1.23) or the incidence of adverse events (incidence rate ratio 1.19, 95% CI 0.89 to 1.59) in the intention-to-treat analyses. However, the direction of effect on the primary outcome was reversed in a per protocol analysis specified a priori (risk difference 6.2%, 95% CI −12.4% to 24.9%).
The effect of adding a keratin dressing to the treatment regimen for prognostically slow-to-heal VLU remains unclear.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere036476
Number of pages9
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jul 2020

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