A review of design and reporting issues in self-reported prevalence studies of leg ulceration

Jill Firth, Elizabeth Andrea Nelson, Claire Hale, Jacqueline Hill, Philip Helliwell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: The aim of this review was to examine design and reporting issues that affect prevalence estimates of leg ulceration obtained using self-report and outline strategies to strengthen the validity and reliability of research in this area.

STUDY DESIGN AND SETTING: We identified leg ulcer prevalence studies and evaluated them against the STROBE (Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology) statement. The authors draw upon the wider literature and their own empirical work in discussing strategies to overcome design and reporting issues.

RESULTS: Common deficiencies in the design and reporting of studies include wide variations in diagnostic criteria and age parameters for participant selection, a lack of description of efforts to address bias/study size rationale, and low participation rates in clinical examination stages. These factors and differences in statistical methods of analysis affect the validity and reliability of findings and hinder interpretation, making comparisons across populations difficult. Opportunities for subgroup analyses are frequently missed.

CONCLUSION: Self-report is a valuable means of capturing leg ulcer prevalence, but the future design and reporting of studies need to be strengthened, including addressing weaknesses in validation strategies. Capture-recapture analysis or a multiple-methods approach has the potential to yield the most valid and reliable prevalence estimates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)907-913
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Epidemiology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 22 Feb 2010


  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Leg Ulcer/economics
  • Male
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Surveys and Questionnaires/standards
  • United Kingdom/epidemiology


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