Arterial Ulcers vs. Venous Ulcers Nursing (Characteristics) for PVD (Peripheral Vascular Disease)

Arterial vs venous ulcers comparison video for nursing students, nurses, NCLEX, ATI, and HESI review.

When studying arterial and venous ulcers, you want to be able to identify the location of these two ulcer types, as well as their general appearance.

With arterial ulcers, there is an issue with the peripheral arteries being able to supply the extremities. There tends to be little drainage and tissue granulation, and it tends to be located at the ends of toes, tops of feet, or lateral ankle region. These ulcers tend to have a punched out appearance.

Venous ulcers, on the other hand, tend to develop on the medial parts of the leg or medial ankle region. There is swelling with drainage, as well as granulation present. The edges of venous ulcers are irregular and shallow.

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Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD):
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Peripheral vascular disease (PVD) is a condition that affects the blood vessels outside of the heart and brain, and it can lead to a variety of complications, including arterial and venous ulcers. Arterial ulcers are typically caused by a lack of blood flow to the affected area, while venous ulcers can develop as a result of blood pooling in the veins.

Arterial ulcers tend to be located on the feet or toes, and they are often very painful. The skin around the ulcer may appear shiny and thin, and the ulcer itself may be surrounded by dry, scaly skin. Arterial ulcers are typically small and round, and they may not bleed very much. The skin around the ulcer may be cold to the touch, and the patient may experience a tingling or burning sensation.

Venous ulcers, on the other hand, tend to be larger and more irregularly shaped than arterial ulcers. They are usually found on the ankles or legs, and they may be accompanied by swelling, discoloration, and a feeling of heaviness in the affected limb. The skin around the ulcer may be red, inflamed, and itchy, and the ulcer itself may be weepy and prone to bleeding.

Nurses who are caring for patients with PVD need to be able to recognize the characteristics of both arterial and venous ulcers in order to provide appropriate care. Arterial ulcers may require interventions to improve blood flow, such as medications or surgical interventions, while venous ulcers may be treated with compression therapy or wound dressings. Proper wound care, infection prevention, and patient education are also important aspects of nursing care for patients with PVD and ulcers.


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