Heart and Vascular Center


Non-healing skin ulcers typically result from peripheral arterial disease (PAD) but can also be a result of chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). Arterial ulcers occur when blocked arteries starve the lower extremity of oxygen-rich blood and this leads to tissue ischemia (decreased blood supply). Venous ulcers are also a result of tissue ischemia but the underlying mechanism is valvular dysfunction or previous deep vein thrombosis. Chronic leg or foot ulcers can be difficult to heal without appropriate medical care. The specialists at the St. Joseph Hospital Vascular Institute are dedicated to preventing the loss of limb through a proactive approach to managing ulcers.

Risk Factors

If you have circulatory problems, such as PAD or CVI, you may be at risk for non-healing skin ulcers. You also may be at risk for non-healing wounds if you have diabetes, as this condition can hinder the body’s normal healing processes. Other risk factors include cigarette smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and sedentary life-style.


Wounds/skin ulcers that persist for greater than 4 weeks are a problem that requires further medical attention.

Screening and Diagnosis

Our physicians and staff specialize in the diagnosis and prevention of the following types of ulcers and non-healing wounds:

  • Arterial disease
  • Venous disease
  • Vasculitis
  • Infection
  • Neuropathy


Physicians at the St. Joseph Vascular Institute will first determine the cause of the ulcer and ensure that you receive appropriate treatment. Conservative measures include wound dressings, off-loading of the involved extremity and non-invasive evaluation of the arterial and venous systems. More aggressive treatment is often required to affect complete wound healing. For information on St. Joseph Hospital Wound Management Services, click here.