Background : Venous leg ulcers (VLUs) are chronic wounds characterized by slow healing and high recurrence. Information on prevalence and incidence is essential for ascertaining the burden of VLU on the health care system and to inform epidemiological research, priority setting, and health care planning. The objective of this protocol is to present a transparent process for how we plan to review the existing international literature on the prevalence and incidence of VLU as well as the characteristics of the population reported within these studies.
Methods : An exploratory search was performed using MEDLINE via PubMed and CINHAL via Ebsco to identify concepts, keywords, MeSH terms, and headings to identify study types looking at data of VLU prevalence and/or incidence and related patient characteristics. The findings of this exploratory search will determine the final search strategy. The titles and abstracts of the identified articles will be screened independently be two authors for relevance. Study which pass the quality assessment will be included. Data extraction will be performed independently by two authors and in accordance with a pre-designed data extraction form. If the data allows, a meta-analysis will be performed otherwise a descriptive summary of the findings will be conducted.
Discussion : The results of this review will contribute to the evidence base on VLU occurrence and may inform the decision making of healthcare professionals, policy-makers, and consumers. It will also inform future research in this area of VLU care.