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Venous eczema: more than just a rash

02 June 2023
Volume 28 · Issue 6


Venous eczema—also known as varicose, gravitational or stasis eczema—is a common form of eczema. In fact, 37−44% of patients with leg ulcers can present with a venous eczema. It is highly unpleasant, and can disrupt an individual's personal and social life.

In this article, Drew Payne provides a community nurse's perspective on what venous eczema is, how to manage it in patients, and how to prevent further reoccurences.

Consider the following scenario: A district nursing team receives a referral for Mrs C—one of their former patients. Mrs C previously had a venous leg ulcer but, much to the team's satisfaction, this eventually healed. The referral says Mrs C's legs have ‘broken down’. When she is visited, it is found that she has not developed a new leg ulcer; instead, she has a weeping eczema rash on both of her legs. This is causing her a lot of distress. She has venous eczema, but what should the team do about it?

Though fictional, this could be a common scenario for many district nursing teams. About 37–44% of people with leg ulcers also have venous eczema (Patel et al, 2001), and like most other eczemas, it is unpleasant. It is also known as varicose, gravitational or stasis eczema (NHS England, 2023), but for this article it will be referred to as venous eczema.

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