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Electromagnetic therapy for venous leg ulcers

In this Cochrane review, researchers at the University of Malaya, in Kuala Lumpur, reviewed this common, chronic, recurring condition, which has a prevalence in the UK of 1.5 to 3 per 1000 and is estimated to cost the NHS £400m ($720m; €600m) a year.

First, the details.

  • 3 studies of variable quality involving 94 people were included.
  • All studies compared electromagnetic therapy (EMT) with sham-EMT.

And, the results.

  • 2 studies reported healing rates.
  • 1 study (44 participants) reported significantly more healed ulcers with EMT vs sham-EMT group.
    • However when all patients (including those who failed to complete the study) were include, the difference wasn’t significant.
  • The second study reported no difference in ulcers healed.
  • The third study (31 participants) reported significantly greater reductions in ulcer size in the EMT group.
    • However, differences between the groups at the start of the study might have influenced the results.

The bottom line?

The authors concluded, “There is no high quality evidence that electromagnetic therapy increases the rate of healing of venous leg ulcers, and further research is needed.”

4/5/11 17:46 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.