Prognostic factors for delayed healing of complex wounds in adults: a scoping review

Raquel Marques*, Marcos Lopes, Paulo Ramos, João Neves-Amado, Paulo Alves

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Complex or hard-to-heal wounds continue to be a challenge because of the negative impact they have on patients, caregivers, and all the associated costs. This study aimed to identify prognostic factors for the delayed healing of complex wounds. Five databases and grey literature were the sources used to research adults with pressure ulcers/injuries, venous leg ulcers, critical limb-threatening ischaemia, or diabetic foot ulcers and report the prognostic factors for delayed healing in all care settings. In the last 5 years, a total of 42 original peer-reviewed articles were deemed eligible for this scoping review that followed the JBI recommendations and checklist PRISMA-ScR. The most frequent prognostic factors found with statistical significance coinciding with various wound aetiologies were: gender (male), renal disease, diabetes, peripheral arterial disease, the decline in activities of daily life, wound duration, wound area, wound location, high-stage WIfI classification, gangrene, infection, previous ulcers, and low ankle brachial index. It will be essential to apply critical appraisal tools and assessment risk of bias to the included studies, making it possible to make recommendations for clinical practice and build prognostic models. Future studies are recommended because the potential for healing through identification of prognostic factors can be determined, thus allowing an appropriate therapeutic plan to be developed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2869-2886
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Wound Journal
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023


  • Decision making
  • Prognosis
  • Wound healing
  • Wounds and injuries


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