Chronic venous leg ulcers (CVLUs) affect nearly 2.2 million Americans annually, including an estimated 3.6% of people over the age of 65. Given that CVLU risk increases with age, the global incidence is predicted to escalate dramatically because of the growing population of older adults. Annual CVLU treatment-related costs to the U.S. healthcare system alone are upwards of $3.5 billion, which are directly related to long healing times and recurrence rates of over 50%.
CVLUs are not only challenging and costly to treat, but the associated morbidity significantly reduces quality of life. That makes it critical for clinicians to choose evidence-based treatment strategies to achieve maximum healing outcomes and minimize recurrence rates of these common debilitating conditions. These strategies, which include compression therapy, specialized dressings, topical and oral medications, and surgery, are used to reduce edema, facilitate healing, and avert recurrence. (more…)
Electrical stimulation and pressure ulcer healing in SCI patients
A systematic review of eight clinical trials of 517 patients with spinal cord injury (SCI) and at least one pressure ulcer indicates that electrical stimulation increases the healing rate of pressure ulcers. Wounds with electrodes overlaying the wound bed seem to have faster pressureulcer healing than wounds with electrodes placed on intact skin around the ulcer. (more…)
Negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT) uses negative pressure to draw wound edges together, remove edema and infectious material, and promote perfusion and granulation tissue development. The tissue stretch and compression created by negative pressure during NPWT promotes tissue perfusion and granulation tissue development through angiogenesis, cellular proliferation, fibroblast migration, increased production of wound healing proteins, and reduction of wound area. NPWT has been used to improve healing in a variety of wounds, including traumatic injuries, surgical wounds, pressure ulcers, diabetic foot ulcers, and venous stasis ulcers. (more…)
Using maggots to treat wounds dates back to 1931 in this country. Until the advent of antibiotics in the 1940s, maggots were used routinely. In the 1980s, interest in them revived due to the increasing emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
At Select Specialty Hospital Houston in Texas, we recently decided to try maggot therapy for a patient with a particularly difficult wound. In this case study, we share our experience. (more…)
Moldable skin barrier effective for elderly patients with ostomy
A study in Gastroenterology Nursing reports that compared to a conventional skin barrier, a moldable skin barrier significantly improves self-care satisfaction scores in elderly patients who have a stoma. The moldable skin barrier also caused less irritant dermatitis and the costs for leakage-proof cream were lower.
Topical application of silver nitrate is often used in wound care to help remove and debride hypergranulation tissue or calloused rolled edges in wounds or ulcerations. It’s also an effective agent to cauterize bleeding in wounds. Silver nitrate is a highly caustic material, so it must be used with caution to prevent damage to healthy tissues. (more…)
We all lead busy lives, with demanding work schedules and home responsibilities that can thwart our best intentions. Although we know it’s our responsibility to stay abreast of changes in our field, we may feel overwhelmed when we try to make that happen.
Keeping clinicians up-to-date on clinical knowledge is one of the main goals of the Wild On Wounds (WOW) conference, held each September in Las Vegas. Each year, I present the opening session of this conference, called “The Buzz Report,” which focuses on the latest-breaking wound care news—what’s new, what’s now, what’s coming up. I discuss innovative new products, practice guidelines, resources, and tools from the last 12 months in skin, wound, and ostomy management. This article highlights the hottest topics from my 2015 Buzz Report. (more…)
Patients in your clinical practice who develop wounds should prompt a call for “all hands on deck” to manage the situation, but some personnel may be missing the boat. Physical therapists (PTs), occupational therapists (OTs), and speech-language pathologists (SLPs) should be on board your wound care ship so patients can receive care they need. But unfortunately, sometimes they aren’t. (more…)
Pressure ulcers are a chronic healthcare burden for both patients and providers. Over 2.5 million patients in the United States are affected annually by pressure ulcers, with nearly 60,000 of those cases directly resulting in death. From a provider’s perspective, the cost of individual care ranges anywhere from $500 to $70,000 per pressure ulcer, which translates to annual costs in the U.S. approaching $11 billion. (more…)
Each issue, Apple Bites brings you a tool you can apply in your daily practice.
Medical gauze, a bleached white cloth or fabric used in bandages, dressings, and surgical sponges, is the most widely used wound care dressing. Commonly known as “4×4s,” gauze is made from fibers of cotton, rayon, polyester, or a combination of these fibers. Surgical gauze must meet standards of purity, thread count, construction, and sterility according to the United States Pharmacopeia. (more…)