Impact of injection drug use on distribution and severity of chronic venous disorders

Barbara Pieper, Thomas N. Templin, Robert S. Kirsner, Thomas J. Birk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


We examined chronic venous disorders (CVD) in persons who injected illicit drugs. The study design was cross-sectional, comparative stratified by age, gender, ethnicity, as well as by three types of drug use (noninjection; arm or upper body injection only; and legs with or without upper body injection). Subjects completed demographic, health, and substances abuse questionnaires and were evaluated using the clinical component of the Clinical-Etiology-Anatomy- Pathophysiology Classification. Seven hundred and thirteen participants were evaluated. Those who injected in the legs ± arms had significantly worse CVD. Thirty-nine percent of leg ± arm injectors vs. 4.2% or noninjectors or arm only injectors had moderate to severe CVD. Persons who injected in the legs ± arms were 9.14 times more likely to develop venous ulcers than those that injected in the arms and upper body only and 34.64 times more likely as those who never injected. CVD was associated with injecting in the groin, legs and feet as compared with other sites. The pattern of disorders associated with leg injection is consistent with the underlying pathology of chronic venous insufficiency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)485-491
Number of pages7
JournalWound Repair and Regeneration
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Dermatology


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