Background: Over the ages, the use of leeches in medicine has evolved from haphazard bloodletting to a well-understood physiologic process with defined, rational applications. Objective: The authors describe the current role of leech therapy in cutaneous surgery and medicine. Methods: Case series and review of the literature. Results: Leech saliva contains anticoagulative, anti-aggregative and vasodilatory components. Combined with the annelid's mechanical ability to extract blood, leeches can contribute to patients' health with minimal risks. Conclusion: Leeches should be considered as novel therapies for disorders of coagulation and venous congestion. Implementation of leech treatment should be tempered with the potential adverse effects, including Aeromonas infection and a drop in hematocrit that might require a blood transfusion.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Journal of Drugs in Dermatology|
|State||Published - Mar 2010|
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