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May 23, 1966

Gold-Leaf Treatment of Ischemic Skin Ulcers

Author Affiliations

From the Section of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (Drs. Wolcott and Wheeler) and the School of Medicine (Mr. Wolf), University of Missouri Medical Center, Columbia.; Reprint requests to 807 Stadium Rd, Columbia 65202 (Dr. Wheeler).

JAMA. 1966;196(8):693-696. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03100210063016

On 13 patients, 22 ischemic skin ulcers which had resisted a variety of therapeutic agents were treated with ordinary gold leaf. Three coexisting lesions served as controls. After initial cleansing and debridement, the ulcers were wetted with 95% alcohol, covered with four to eight layers of gold leaf, and protective dressings were applied; this procedure was repeated every 48 hours. A venous-stasis lesion decreased in size 86% in one month, and a diabetic ulcer showed 44% improvement in 11 days. Twenty decubitus ulcers decreased an average of 62%, and three coexisting control ulcers increased in size an average of 96%. Deterrents to successful treatment include a hemoglobin value below 12 gm/100 cc, excessive friction, undermining of ulcer edges, ringing of the lesion with scar tissue, and copious purulent discharge. No adverse reactions to gold leaf were observed.