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1.  Negative Pressure Wound Therapy 
Executive Summary
This review was conducted to assess the effectiveness of negative pressure wound therapy.
Clinical Need: Target Population and Condition
Many wounds are difficult to heal, despite medical and nursing care. They may result from complications of an underlying disease, like diabetes; or from surgery, constant pressure, trauma, or burns. Chronic wounds are more often found in elderly people and in those with immunologic or chronic diseases. Chronic wounds may lead to impaired quality of life and functioning, to amputation, or even to death.
The prevalence of chronic ulcers is difficult to ascertain. It varies by condition and complications due to the condition that caused the ulcer. There are, however, some data on condition-specific prevalence rates; for example, of patients with diabetes, 15% are thought to have foot ulcers at some time during their lives. The approximate community care cost of treating leg ulcers in Canada, without reference to cause, has been estimated at upward of $100 million per year.
Surgically created wounds can also become chronic, especially if they become infected. For example, the reported incidence of sternal wound infections after median sternotomy is 1% to 5%. Abdominal surgery also creates large open wounds. Because it is sometimes necessary to leave these wounds open and allow them to heal on their own (secondary intention), some may become infected and be difficult to heal.
Yet, little is known about the wound healing process, and this makes treating wounds challenging. Many types of interventions are used to treat wounds.
Current best practice for the treatment of ulcers and other chronic wounds includes debridement (the removal of dead or contaminated tissue), which can be surgical, mechanical, or chemical; bacterial balance; and moisture balance. Treating the cause, ensuring good nutrition, and preventing primary infection also help wounds to heal. Saline or wet-to-moist dressings are reported as traditional or conventional therapy in the literature, although they typically are not the first line of treatment in Ontario. Modern moist interactive dressings are foams, calcium alginates, hydrogels, hydrocolloids, and films. Topical antibacterial agents—antiseptics, topical antibiotics, and newer antimicrobial dressings—are used to treat infection.
The Technology Being Reviewed
Negative pressure wound therapy is not a new concept in wound therapy. It is also called subatmospheric pressure therapy, vacuum sealing, vacuum pack therapy, and sealing aspirative therapy.
The aim of the procedure is to use negative pressure to create suction, which drains the wound of exudate (i.e., fluid, cells, and cellular waste that has escaped from blood vessels and seeped into tissue) and influences the shape and growth of the surface tissues in a way that helps healing. During the procedure, a piece of foam is placed over the wound, and a drain tube is placed over the foam. A large piece of transparent tape is placed over the whole area, including the healthy tissue, to secure the foam and drain the wound. The tube is connected to a vacuum source, and fluid is drawn from the wound through the foam into a disposable canister. Thus, the entire wound area is subjected to negative pressure. The device can be programmed to provide varying degrees of pressure either continuously or intermittently. It has an alarm to alert the provider or patient if the pressure seal breaks or the canister is full.
Negative pressure wound therapy may be used for patients with chronic and acute wounds; subacute wounds (dehisced incisions); chronic, diabetic wounds or pressure ulcers; meshed grafts (before and after); or flaps. It should not be used for patients with fistulae to organs/body cavities, necrotic tissue that has not been debrided, untreated osteomyelitis, wound malignancy, wounds that require hemostasis, or for patients who are taking anticoagulants.
Review Strategy
The inclusion criteria were as follows:
Randomized controlled trial (RCT) with a sample size of 20 or more
Human study
Published in English
Summary of Findings
Seven international health technology assessments on NPWT were identified. Included in this list of health technology assessments is the original health technology review on NPWT by the Medical Advisory Secretariat from 2004. The Medical Advisory Secretariat found that the health technology assessments consistently reported that NPWT may be useful for healing various types of wounds, but that its effectiveness could not be empirically quantified because the studies were poorly done, the patient populations and outcome measures could not be compared, and the sample sizes were small.
Six RCTs were identified that compared NPWT to standard care. Five of the 6 studies were of low or very low quality according to Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) criteria. The low and very low quality RCTs were flawed owing to small sample sizes, inconsistent reporting of results, and patients lost to follow-up. The highest quality study, which forms the basis of this health technology policy assessment, found that:
There was not a statistically significant difference (≥ 20%) between NPWT and standard care in the rate of complete wound closure in patients who had complete wound closure but did not undergo surgical wound closure (P = .15).
The authors of this study did not report the length of time to complete wound closure between NPWT and standard care in patients who had complete wound closure but who did not undergo surgical wound closure
There was no statistically significant difference (≥ 20%) in the rate of secondary amputations between the patients that received NPWT and those that had standard care (P = .06)
There may be an increased risk of wound infection in patients that receive NPWT compared with those that receive standard care.
Based on the evidence to date, the clinical effectiveness of NPWT to heal wounds is unclear. Furthermore, saline dressings are not standard practice in Ontario, thereby rendering the literature base irrelevant in an Ontario context. Nonetheless, despite the lack of methodologically sound studies, NPWT has diffused across Ontario.
Discussions with Ontario clinical experts have highlighted some deficiencies in the current approach to wound management, especially in the community. Because NPWT is readily available, easy to administer, and may save costs, compared with multiple daily conventional dressing changes, it may be used inappropriately. The discussion group highlighted the need to put in place a coordinated, multidisciplinary strategy for wound care in Ontario to ensure the best, continuous care of patients.
PMCID: PMC3379164  PMID: 23074484
2.  Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for Non-Healing Ulcers in Diabetes Mellitus 
Executive Summary
To examine the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) to treat people with diabetes mellitus (DM) and non-healing ulcers. This policy appraisal systematically reviews the published literature in the above patient population, and applies the results and conclusions of the review to current health care practices in Ontario, Canada.
Although HBOT is an insured service in Ontario, the costs for the technical provision of this technology are not covered publicly outside the hospital setting. Moreover, access to this treatment is limited, because many hospitals do not offer it, or are not expanding capacity to meet the demand.
Clinical Need
Diabetes mellitus is a chronic disease characterized by an increase in blood sugar that can lead to many severe conditions such as vision, cardiac, and vascular disorders. The prevalence of DM is difficult to estimate, because some people who have the condition are undiagnosed or may not be captured through data that reflect access to the health care system. The Canadian Diabetic Association estimates there are about 2 million people in Canada with diabetes (almost 7% of the population). According to recent data, the prevalence of DM increased from 4.72% of the population aged 20 years and over in 1995, to 6.19% of the population aged 20 years and over in 1999, or about 680,900 people in 1999. Prevalence estimates expanded to 700,000 in 2003.
About 10% to 15% of people with DM develop a foot wound in their lifetimes because of underlying peripheral neuropathy and peripheral vascular disease. This equals between 70,000 and 105,000 people in Ontario, based on the DM prevalence estimate of 700,000 people. Without early treatment, a foot ulcer may fester until it becomes infected and chronic. Chronic wounds are difficult to heal, despite medical and nursing care, and may lead to impaired quality of life and functioning, amputation, or even death.
The Technology
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy has been in use for about 40 years. It is thought to aid wound healing by supplying oxygen to the wound. According to the Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Association, HBOT acts as a bactericidal, stops toxin production, and promotes tissue growth to heal difficult wounds.
During the procedure, a patient is placed in a compression chamber with increased pressure between 2.0 and 2.5 atmospheres absolute for 60 to 120 minutes, once or twice daily. In the chamber, the patient inhales 100% oxygen. Treatment usually runs for 15 to 20 sessions.
Noted complications are rare but may include claustrophobia; ear, sinus, or lung damage due to pressure; temporary worsening of short sightedness; and oxygen poisoning. Careful monitoring during the treatment sessions and follow-up by a trained health care provider is recommended.
Review Strategy
The aims of this health technology policy appraisal were to assess the effectiveness, safety, and cost-effectiveness of HBOT, either alone, or as an adjunct, compared with the standard treatments for non-healing foot or leg ulcers in patients with DM. The following questions were asked:
Alone or as an adjunct therapy, is HBOT more effective than other therapies for non-healing foot or leg ulcers in patients with DM?
If HBOT is effective, what is the incremental benefit over and above currently used strategies?
When is the best time in a wound treatment strategy to use HBOT?
What is the best treatment algorithm with HBOT?
The Medical Advisory Secretariat searched for health technology assessments in the published and grey literature. The search yielded 4 reports, which were published from 2000 to 2005. The most recent from the Cochrane Collaboration had a literature review and analysis of randomized control trials to 2003.
As an update to this review, as per the standard Medical Advisory Secretariat systematic review strategy, the abstracts of peer-reviewed publications were identified using Ovid MEDLINE, EMBASE, MEDLINE in-process and not-yet-indexed citations, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Cochrane CENTRAL, and INAHTA using key words and searching from January 1, 2003 to 2004.
The criteria for inclusion were as follows:
Patients with diabetes
Live human study
English-language study
HBOT as adjunctive therapy or alone
Randomized control trial
The number of excluded studies included the following:
2 animal studies
13 focus on condition other than DM
8 review/protocol for HBOT use
3 HBOT not focus of report
2 health technology assessments (2)
1 non-RCT
Outcomes of interest were wound healing and prevention of amputation.
The search yielded 29 articles published between 2003 and 2004. All 29 of these were excluded, as shown beside the exclusion criteria above. Therefore, this health technology policy assessment focused exclusively on the most recently published health technology assessments and systematic reviews.
Summary of Findings
Four health technology assessments and reviews were found. Cochrane Collaboration researchers published the most recent review in 2005. They included only randomized controlled trials and conducted a meta-analysis to examine wound healing and amputation outcomes. They found that, based on findings from 118 patients in 3 studies, HBOT may help to prevent major amputation (relative risk, 0.31; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.13–0.71) with a number needed to treat (NNT) of 4 (95% CI, 3–11). They noted, however, that the point estimates derived from trials were not well reported, and had varying populations with respect to wound severity, HBOT regimens, and outcome measures. These noted limitations rendered the comparison of results from the trials difficult. Further, they suggested that the evidence was not strong enough to suggest a benefit for wound healing in general or for prevention of minor amputations.
The Medical Advisory Secretariat also evaluated the studies that the Cochrane Collaboration used in their analysis, and agreed with their evaluation that the quality of the evidence was low for major and minor amputations, but low to moderate for wound healing, suggesting that the results from new and well-conducted studies would likely change the estimates calculated by Cochrane and others.
In 2003, the Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee recommended a more coordinated strategy for wound care in Ontario to the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care. This strategy has begun at the community care and long-term care institution levels, but is pending in other areas of the health care system.
There are about 700,000 people in Ontario with diabetes; of these, 10% to 15% may have a foot ulcer sometime in their lifetimes. Foot ulcers are treatable, however, when they are identified, diagnosed and treated early according to best practice guidelines. Routine follow-up for people with diabetes who may be at risk for neuropathy and/or peripheral vascular disease may prevent subsequent foot ulcers. There are 4 chambers that provide HBOT in Ontario. Fewer than 20 people with DM received HBOT in 2003.
The quality of the evidence assessing the effectiveness of HBOT as an adjunct to standard therapy for people with non-healing diabetic foot ulcers is low, and the results are inconsistent. The results of a recent meta-analysis that found benefit of HBOT to prevent amputation are therefore uncertain. Future well-conducted studies may change the currently published estimates of effectiveness for wound healing and prevention of amputation using HBOT in the treatment of non-healing diabetic foot ulcers.
Although HBOT is an insured service in Ontario, a well conducted, randomized controlled trial that has wound healing and amputation as the primary end-points is needed before this technology is used widely among patients with foot wounds due to diabetes.
PMCID: PMC3382405  PMID: 23074462
3.  Community-Based Care for Chronic Wound Management 
Executive Summary
In August 2008, the Medical Advisory Secretariat (MAS) presented a vignette to the Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee (OHTAC) on a proposed targeted health care delivery model for chronic care. The proposed model was defined as multidisciplinary, ambulatory, community-based care that bridged the gap between primary and tertiary care, and was intended for individuals with a chronic disease who were at risk of a hospital admission or emergency department visit. The goals of this care model were thought to include: the prevention of emergency department visits, a reduction in hospital admissions and re-admissions, facilitation of earlier hospital discharge, a reduction or delay in long-term care admissions, and an improvement in mortality and other disease-specific patient outcomes.
OHTAC approved the development of an evidence-based assessment to determine the effectiveness of specialized community based care for the management of heart failure, Type 2 diabetes and chronic wounds.
Please visit the Medical Advisory Secretariat Web site at: to review the following reports associated with the Specialized Multidisciplinary Community-Based care series.
Specialized multidisciplinary community-based care series: a summary of evidence-based analyses
Community-based care for the specialized management of heart failure: an evidence-based analysis
Community-based care for chronic wound management: an evidence-based analysis
Please note that the evidence-based analysis of specialized community-based care for the management of diabetes titled: “Community-based care for the management of type 2 diabetes: an evidence-based analysis” has been published as part of the Diabetes Strategy Evidence Platform at this URL:
Please visit the Toronto Health Economics and Technology Assessment Collaborative Web site at: to review the following economic project associated with this series:
Community-based Care for the specialized management of heart failure: a cost-effectiveness and budget impact analysis.
The objective of this evidence-based review is to determine the effectiveness of a multidisciplinary wound care team for the management of chronic wounds.
Clinical Need: Condition and Target Population
Chronic wounds develop from various aetiologies including pressure, diabetes, venous pathology, and surgery. A pressure ulcer is defined as a localized injury to the skin/and or underlying tissue occurring most often over a bony prominence and caused, alone or in combination, by pressure, shear, or friction. Up to three fifths of venous leg ulcers are due to venous aetiology.
Approximately 1.5 million Ontarians will sustain a pressure ulcer, 111,000 will develop a diabetic foot ulcer, and between 80,000 and 130,000 will develop a venous leg ulcer. Up to 65% of those afflicted by chronic leg ulcers report experiencing decreased quality of life, restricted mobility, anxiety, depression, and/or severe or continuous pain.
Multidisciplinary Wound Care Teams
The term ‘multidisciplinary’ refers to multiple disciplines on a team and ‘interdisciplinary’ to such a team functioning in a coordinated and collaborative manner. There is general consensus that a group of multidisciplinary professionals is necessary for optimum specialist management of chronic wounds stemming from all aetiologies. However, there is little evidence to guide the decision of which professionals might be needed form an optimal wound care team.
Evidence-Based Analysis Methods
Literature Search
A literature search was performed on July 7, 2009 using OVID MEDLINE, MEDLINE In-Process and Other Non-Indexed Citations, OVID EMBASE, Wiley Cochrane, Centre for Reviews and Dissemination/International Agency for Health Technology Assessment, and on July 13, 2009 using the Cumulative Index to Nursing & Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), and the International Agency for Health Technology Assessment (INAHTA) for studies pertaining to leg and foot ulcers. A similar literature search was conducted on July 29’ 2009 for studies pertaining to pressure ulcers. Abstracts were reviewed by a single reviewer and, for those studies meeting the eligibility criteria, full-text articles were obtained. Reference lists were also examined for any additional relevant studies not identified through the search. Articles with an unknown eligibility were reviewed with a second clinical epidemiologist and then a group of epidemiologists until consensus was established.
Inclusion Criteria
Randomized controlled trials and Controlled clinical Trials (CCT)
Systematic review with meta analysis
Population includes persons with pressure ulcers (anywhere) and/or leg and foot ulcers
The intervention includes a multidisciplinary (two or more disciplines) wound care team.
The control group does not receive care by a wound care team
Studies published in the English language between 2004 and 2009
Exclusion Criteria
Single centre retrospective observational studies
Outcomes of Interest
Proportion of persons and/or wounds completely healed
Time to complete healing
Quality of Life
Pain assessment
Summary of Findings
Two studies met the inclusion and exclusion criteria, one a randomized controlled trial (RCT), the other a CCT using a before and after study design. There was variation in the setting, composition of the wound care team, outcome measures, and follow up periods between the studies. In both studies, however, the wound care team members received training in wound care management and followed a wound care management protocol.
In the RCT, Vu et al. reported a non-significant difference between the proportion of wounds healed in 6 months using a univariate analysis (61.7% for treatment vs. 52.5% for control; p=0.074, RR=1.19) There was also a non-significant difference in the mean time to healing in days (82 for treatment vs. 101 for control; p=0.095). More persons in the intervention group had a Brief Pain Inventory (BPI) score equal to zero (better pain control) at 6 months when compared with the control group (38.6% for intervention vs. 24.4% for control; p=0.017, RR=1.58). By multivariate analysis a statistically significant hazard ratio was reported in the intervention group (1.73, 95% CI 1.20-1.50; p=0.003).
In the CCT, Harrison et al. reported a statistically significant difference in healing rates between the pre (control) and post (intervention) phases of the study. Of patients in the pre phase, 23% had healed ulcers 3 months after study enrolment, whereas 56% were healed in the post phase (P<0.001, OR=4.17) (Figure 3). Furthermore, 27% of patients were treated daily or more often in the pre phase whereas only 6% were treated at this frequency in the post phase (P<0.001), equal to a 34% relative risk reduction in frequency of daily treatments. The authors did not report the results of pain relief assessment.
The body of evidence was assessed using the GRADE methodology for 4 outcomes: proportion of wounds healed, proportion of persons with healed wounds, wound associated pain relief, and proportion of persons needing daily wound treatments. In general, the evidence was found to be low to very low quality.
The evidence supports that managing chronic wounds with a multidisciplinary wound care team significantly increases wound healing and reduces the severity of wound-associated pain and the required daily wound treatments compared to persons not managed by a wound care team. The quality of evidence supporting these outcomes is low to very low meaning that further research is very likely to have an important impact on our confidence in the estimate of effect and is likely to change the estimate.
PMCID: PMC3377537  PMID: 23074522
4.  Glycerin-Based Hydrogel for Infection Control 
Advances in Wound Care  2012;1(1):48-51.
Infection is a major problem in the health and wellbeing of patients in hospitals, nursing homes, and other medical facilities as well as the homecare patients and the general public. According to Scientia Advisors, wound care costs the healthcare system over $7 billion in 2009. After adding the cost associated with potential complications such as infections, extended physician care, and lengthy hospital stays, the annual wound care expenditures well exceeded over $20 billion.1 There are 20 million reported cases of diabetes per year and more every day. Because of the fact that leg ulcers are the number one health problem of men coupled with the rise in drug resistance of infections, the importance of providing the professional and the public with relatively simple and affordable wound care is of extreme importance. Often the wounds can become chronic wounds, which then result in long-term nursing expense in time and supplies or, worse yet, can result in expensive amputations ranging from $5000 to $40,000 per patient.
There are many dressing options now available for treating wounds with components such as glycerin, honey, salt, and many other natural products, with some dressings being more appropriate than others. In 1988, a patented glycerin-based dressing was introduced to the market, called Elasto-Gel™.2
New Technology
Elasto-Gel™ is a glycerin-based gel sheet (65%) combined with a hydrophilic polymer that causes the sheet to absorb the exudate from the wound and simultaneously release the glycerin from the gel, which adds many benefits to the wound for excellent healing outcomes. The gel sheet is 1/8th of an inch thick with a four-way stretch backing. It has the ability to absorb 3–4 times its own weight of fluids. The dressing will not dry out or allow the exudate to dry out, thus keeping the dressing from becoming bonded to the wound or the surrounding tissue. It does not have adhesive properties and, therefore, will not cause damage to the wound bed or periwound area upon dressing removal. Because of the thickness, the product provides excellent cushion and padding support. It has been also proven to be bacteriostatic/fungistatic. (Bacteriostatic is the ability to restrain the development or reproduction of bacteria.3)
Product Technology
Glycerin is a huamectant by definition and has been recognized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Humectants attract, bind, and hold moisture to the site of application. The actual concentration of glycerin in a wound dressing is indicative of the ability to absorb excess moisture. Exudate management is an important function of topical treatment. The ability to absorb drainage and prevent pooling of exudate in the wound or on the surrounding skin are attributes specific to high glycerin content. Perhaps, the most significant advantage of the glycerin-based hydrogel sheet is its impact on wound bioburden and pathogenic organisms.4 Glycerin is a simple three-carbon tri-alcohol and is a natural humectant. It is used as a carrier in many medicines and as plasticizer in gelatin gel capsules. Glycerin is a component of cosmetics, conditioners, soaps, foods, and other common products. It is a component of mono-, di-, and triglycerides naturally occurring in the body. These glycerides and glycerin are constantly reacted with each other by the natural enzymes and reversed with the natural metabolic processes already present in the body. Any glycerin that may be absorbed into the body fluid is rapidly diluted in these fluids and is no longer toxic but is metabolized as another component of the food chain. It is well known that glycerin in high concentration will exhibit dehydrating effect on many systems including living cells by the commonly known process of osmosis. (Osmosis: the flow or diffusion that takes place through a semipermable membrane, as of living cell, typically separating a solvent such as water, thus bringing about equilibrium conditions.5) It has been shown that glycerin at high concentration will be cytotoxic to all cells that have been tested if they are exposed long enough. These properties of glycerin have been recognized by the European Skin Bank, where they use 85% glycerin solutions to store cadaver skin at ∼42F, and can be used for potential wound coverings. The cadaver skin that has been prepared by this method has been available since 1994.6 The concern for safety resulted in a three-day international synmposium7 with emphasis on glycerin-preserved cadaver skin providing healthy environment for the preserved skin to be successfully accepted without rejection, having no complications of infection and providing excellent healing outcomes and minimal scaring. Additional research by Dr. David P. Mackie of the Red Cross Hospital, The Netherlands, reported that using 85% glycerin solutions had slow bactericidal effects and also showed virocidal activity on several types of viruses.8 Dr. Hoekstra has observed that within 2 hours after application of Elasto-Gel™, the inflammatory reaction is reduced.9 Vandeputte, Belgium, showed that wounds covered with Elasto-Gel™ had fewer myofibroblasts than those covered with hydrocolloid.10 It has been proposed that myofibroblasts in high concentrations contribute to the formation of hypertrophic and keloid scars. As noted earlier, there is less scar formation when glycerin-based gel sheets are used. The data sited here have shown that glycerin and glycerin-based products are effective antimicrobial agents with less side effects. Many verbal reports along with personal communications have indicated that applying glycerin-based gel sheets to stalled wounds, some 15–20-year-old chronic wounds, resulted in healing in 1–20 weeks (data/case studies on file).
Indications for Use
Elasto-Gel™ has been approved for all types of wounds, that is, pressure ulcers, acute and chronic wounds, diabetic wounds, traumatic wounds, dermatology wounds, cancer tumors, and first- and second-degree burns, to name a few. Because of the product's features and benefits, it may be used on a variety of wounds. Because of its padding properties, it may be also used as a preventative product over bony prominence areas so that wounds do not occur. The glycerin properties act as a skin substitute and may also be used for scar reduction.
Elasto-Gel™ is not approved for third-degree burns as no dressing has been approved by the FDA for this type of wound.
PMCID: PMC3839013  PMID: 24527279
5.  A Three Species Model to Simulate Application of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy to Chronic Wounds 
PLoS Computational Biology  2009;5(7):e1000451.
Chronic wounds are a significant socioeconomic problem for governments worldwide. Approximately 15% of people who suffer from diabetes will experience a lower-limb ulcer at some stage of their lives, and 24% of these wounds will ultimately result in amputation of the lower limb. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) has been shown to aid the healing of chronic wounds; however, the causal reasons for the improved healing remain unclear and hence current HBOT protocols remain empirical. Here we develop a three-species mathematical model of wound healing that is used to simulate the application of hyperbaric oxygen therapy in the treatment of wounds. Based on our modelling, we predict that intermittent HBOT will assist chronic wound healing while normobaric oxygen is ineffective in treating such wounds. Furthermore, treatment should continue until healing is complete, and HBOT will not stimulate healing under all circumstances, leading us to conclude that finding the right protocol for an individual patient is crucial if HBOT is to be effective. We provide constraints that depend on the model parameters for the range of HBOT protocols that will stimulate healing. More specifically, we predict that patients with a poor arterial supply of oxygen, high consumption of oxygen by the wound tissue, chronically hypoxic wounds, and/or a dysfunctional endothelial cell response to oxygen are at risk of nonresponsiveness to HBOT. The work of this paper can, in some way, highlight which patients are most likely to respond well to HBOT (for example, those with a good arterial supply), and thus has the potential to assist in improving both the success rate and hence the cost-effectiveness of this therapy.
Author Summary
In the time it takes you to read this paragraph, one person will have undergone a lower limb amputation due to diabetic foot disease. With the global diabetes population on the rise and set to reach 330 million by 2025, the need for research into therapies and technologies that have the potential to prevent amputation is dire. There is much debate about the best way to treat these wounds, and one treatment that is shrouded with controversy is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT). There are currently no conclusive data showing that HBOT can assist chronic wound healing, but there has been some clinical success. In light of how expensive properly designed clinical trials can be, we must turn to alternative methods of assessment, such as the theoretical model presented here. The mathematical model reproduces a number of clinical observations. A key result is that while HBOT can assist chronic diabetic wounds, it holds little benefit for wounds that would heal of their own accord. This model represents a useful tool to analyse the optimal protocol, and the results and insights gained from the model may be used to improve both the success rate and thus the cost-effectiveness of this therapy.
PMCID: PMC2710516  PMID: 19649306
6.  Near Infrared Wound Monitor Helps Clinical Assessment of Diabetic Foot Ulcers 
The efficacy of using diffuse near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) in predicting wound healing in diabetic foot ulcers was demonstrated by conducting a pilot human study.
Sixteen chronic diabetic wounds were followed and assessed for subsurface oxyhemoglobin concentration using the NIRS device. Weekly measurements were conducted until there was wound closure, limb amputation, or 20 completed visits without healing. Wound size and degree of wound contraction were measured by image analysis of digital photographs, and results were compared to NIRS results.
In the 16 patients followed, seven wounds healed, six limbs were amputated, and three wounds remained opened after 20 visits. Initial values of subsurface hemoglobin concentration, in all wounds, were higher than in nonwound control sites. Healed wounds exhibited a consistent reduction of hemoglobin concentration several weeks prior to closure, and the absolute hemoglobin concentration approached the value at the control site. In wounds that did not heal or ended in amputations, the hemoglobin concentration remained elevated throughout the study. A negative slope for the rate of change of hemoglobin concentration was indicative of healing across all wounds.
Evaluation of diabetic foot ulcers using NIRS may provide an effective and more complete measurement of wound healing compared to current clinical approaches.
PMCID: PMC2909507  PMID: 20663439
chronic diabetic foot ulcers; diffuse photon density wave; frequency-domain near infrared spectroscopy; hemoglobin; wound healing
7.  Inflammation and Neuropeptides: The Connection in Diabetic Wound Healing 
This article provides a broad overview of the interaction between neuropeptides and inflammatory mediators as it pertains to diabetic wound healing. Abnormal wound healing is a major complication of both type I and type II diabetes and is the most frequent cause of non-traumatic lower limb amputation. Wound healing requires the orchestrated integration of complex biological and molecular events. Inflammation, proliferation and migration of cells followed by angiogenesis and re-epithelization are essential phases of wound healing. The link between wound healing and the nervous system is clinically apparent as peripheral neuropathy is reported in 30–50% of diabetic patients and is the most common and sensitive predictor of foot ulceration. The bidirectional connection between the nervous and the immune systems and the role it plays in wound healing has emerged as one of the focal features of the wound healing dogma. The mediators of this connection include neuropeptides and the cytokines released from different cells including immune and cutaneous cells. Therefore, to develop successful wound healing therapies, it is vital to understand in depth the signaling pathways in the neuro-immune axis and their implication in diabetic wound healing.
PMCID: PMC3708299  PMID: 19138453
Diabetes; Inflammation; Neuropeptides; Wound-Healing; Foot Ulcers; Neuropathy; Cytokines
8.  Management of Chronic Pressure Ulcers 
Executive Summary
In April 2008, the Medical Advisory Secretariat began an evidence-based review of the literature concerning pressure ulcers.
Please visit the Medical Advisory Secretariat Web site, to review these titles that are currently available within the Pressure Ulcers series.
Pressure ulcer prevention: an evidence based analysis
The cost-effectiveness of prevention strategies for pressure ulcers in long-term care homes in Ontario: projections of the Ontario Pressure Ulcer Model (field evaluation)
Management of chronic pressure ulcers: an evidence-based analysis
The Medical Advisory Secretariat (MAS) conducted a systematic review on interventions used to treat pressure ulcers in order to answer the following questions:
Do currently available interventions for the treatment of pressure ulcers increase the healing rate of pressure ulcers compared with standard care, a placebo, or other similar interventions?
Within each category of intervention, which one is most effective in promoting the healing of existing pressure ulcers?
A pressure ulcer is a localized injury to the skin and/or underlying tissue usually over a bony prominence, as a result of pressure, or pressure in conjunction with shear and/or friction. Many areas of the body, especially the sacrum and the heel, are prone to the development of pressure ulcers. People with impaired mobility (e.g., stroke or spinal cord injury patients) are most vulnerable to pressure ulcers. Other factors that predispose people to pressure ulcer formation are poor nutrition, poor sensation, urinary and fecal incontinence, and poor overall physical and mental health.
The prevalence of pressure ulcers in Ontario has been estimated to range from a median of 22.1% in community settings to a median of 29.9% in nonacute care facilities. Pressure ulcers have been shown to increase the risk of mortality among geriatric patients by as much as 400%, to increase the frequency and duration of hospitalization, and to decrease the quality of life of affected patients. The cost of treating pressure ulcers has been estimated at approximately $9,000 (Cdn) per patient per month in the community setting. Considering the high prevalence of pressure ulcers in the Ontario health care system, the total cost of treating pressure ulcers is substantial.
Wounds normally heal in 3 phases (inflammatory phase, a proliferative phase of new tissue and matrix formation, and a remodelling phase). However, pressure ulcers often fail to progress past the inflammatory stage. Current practice for treating pressure ulcers includes treating the underlying causes, debridement to remove necrotic tissues and contaminated tissues, dressings to provide a moist wound environment and to manage exudates, devices and frequent turning of patients to provide pressure relief, topical applications of biologic agents, and nutritional support to correct nutritional deficiencies. A variety of adjunctive physical therapies are also in use.
Health technology assessment databases and medical databases were searched from 1996 (Medline), 1980 (EMBASE), and 1982 (CINAHL) systematically up to March 2008 to identify randomized controlled trials (RCTs) on the following treatments of pressure ulcers: cleansing, debridement, dressings, biological therapies, pressure-relieving devices, physical therapies, nutritional therapies, and multidisciplinary wound care teams. Full literature search strategies are reported in appendix 1. English-language studies in previous systematic reviews and studies published since the last systematic review were included if they had more than 10 subjects, were randomized, and provided objective outcome measures on the healing of pressure ulcers. In the absence of RCTs, studies of the highest level of evidence available were included. Studies on wounds other than pressure ulcers and on surgical treatment of pressure ulcers were excluded. A total of 18 systematic reviews, 104 RCTs, and 4 observational studies were included in this review.
Data were extracted from studies using standardized forms. The quality of individual studies was assessed based on adequacy of randomization, concealment of treatment allocation, comparability of groups, blinded assessment, and intention-to-treat analysis. Meta-analysis to estimate the relative risk (RR) or weighted mean difference (WMD) for measures of healing was performed when appropriate. A descriptive synthesis was provided where pooled analysis was not appropriate or not feasible. The quality of the overall evidence on each intervention was assessed using the grading of recommendations assessment, development, and evaluation (GRADE) criteria.
Findings from the analysis of the included studies are summarized below:
There is no good trial evidence to support the use of any particular wound cleansing solution or technique for pressure ulcers.
There was no evidence that debridement using collagenase, dextranomer, cadexomer iodine, or maggots significantly improved complete healing compared with placebo.
There were no statistically significant differences between enzymatic or mechanical debridement agents with the following exceptions:
Papain urea resulted in better debridement than collagenase.
Calcium alginate resulted in a greater reduction in ulcer size compared to dextranomer.
Adding streptokinase/streptodornase to hydrogel resulted in faster debridement.
Maggot debridement resulted in more complete debridement than conventional treatment.
There is limited evidence on the healing effects of debridement devices.
Hydrocolloid dressing was associated with almost three-times more complete healing compared with saline gauze.
There is evidence that hydrogel and hydropolymer may be associated with 50% to 70% more complete healing of pressure ulcers than hydrocolloid dressing.
No statistically significant differences in complete healing were detected among other modern dressings.
There is evidence that polyurethane foam dressings and hydrocellular dressings are more absorbent and easier to remove than hydrocolloid dressings in ulcers with moderate to high exudates.
In deeper ulcers (stage III and IV), the use of alginate with hydrocolloid resulted in significantly greater reduction in the size of the ulcers compared to hydrocolloid alone.
Studies on sustained silver-releasing dressing demonstrated a tendency for reducing the risk of infection and promoting faster healing, but the sample sizes were too small for statistical analysis or for drawing conclusions.
Biological Therapies
The efficacy of platelet-derived growth factors (PDGFs), fibroblast growth factor, and granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor in improving complete healing of chronic pressure ulcers has not been established.
Presently only Regranex, a recombinant PDGF, has been approved by Health Canada and only for treatment of diabetic ulcers in the lower extremities.
A March 2008 US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) communication reported increased deaths from cancers in people given three or more prescriptions for Regranex.
Limited low-quality evidence on skin matrix and engineered skin equivalent suggests a potential role for these products in healing refractory advanced chronic pressure ulcers, but the evidence is insufficient to draw a conclusion.
Adjunctive Physical Therapy
There is evidence that electrical stimulation may result in a significantly greater reduction in the surface area and more complete healing of stage II to IV ulcers compared with sham therapy. No conclusion on the efficacy of electrotherapy can be drawn because of significant statistical heterogeneity, small sample sizes, and methodological flaws.
The efficacy of other adjunctive physical therapies [electromagnetic therapy, low-level laser (LLL) therapy, ultrasound therapy, ultraviolet light therapy, and negative pressure therapy] in improving complete closure of pressure ulcers has not been established.
Nutrition Therapy
Supplementation with 15 grams of hydrolyzed protein 3 times daily did not affect complete healing but resulted in a 2-fold improvement in Pressure Ulcer Scale for Healing (PUSH) score compared with placebo.
Supplementation with 200 mg of zinc three times per day did not have any significant impact on the healing of pressure ulcers compared with a placebo.
Supplementation of 500 mg ascorbic acid twice daily was associated with a significantly greater decrease in the size of the ulcer compared with a placebo but did not have any significant impact on healing when compared with supplementation of 10 mg ascorbic acid three times daily.
A very high protein tube feeding (25% of energy as protein) resulted in a greater reduction in ulcer area in institutionalized tube-fed patients compared with a high protein tube feeding (16% of energy as protein).
Multinutrient supplements that contain zinc, arginine, and vitamin C were associated with a greater reduction in the area of the ulcers compared with standard hospital diet or to a standard supplement without zinc, arginine, or vitamin C.
Firm conclusions cannot be drawn because of methodological flaws and small sample sizes.
Multidisciplinary Wound Care Teams
The only RCT suggests that multidisciplinary wound care teams may significantly improve healing in the acute care setting in 8 weeks and may significantly shorten the length of hospitalization. However, since only an abstract is available, study biases cannot be assessed and no conclusions can be drawn on the quality of this evidence.
PMCID: PMC3377577  PMID: 23074533
9.  A prospective, double-blind, randomized, controlled clinical trial comparing standard wound care with adjunctive hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) to standard wound care only for the treatment of chronic, non-healing ulcers of the lower limb in patients with diabetes mellitus: a study protocol 
Trials  2011;12:69.
It has been suggested that the use of adjunctive hyperbaric oxygen therapy improves the healing of diabetic foot ulcers, and decreases the risk of lower extremity amputations. A limited number of studies have used a double blind approach to evaluate the efficacy of hyperbaric oxygen therapy in the treatment of diabetic ulcers. The primary aim of this study is to assess the efficacy of hyperbaric oxygen therapy plus standard wound care compared with standard wound care alone in preventing the need for major amputation in patients with diabetes mellitus and chronic ulcers of the lower limb.
One hundred and eighteen (59 patients per arm) patients with non-healing diabetic ulcers of the lower limb, referred to the Judy Dan Research and Treatment Centre are being recruited if they are at least 18 years of age, have either Type 1 or 2 diabetes with a Wagner grading of foot lesions 2, 3 or 4 on lower limb not healing for at least 4 weeks. Patients receive hyperbaric oxygen therapy every day for 6 weeks during the treatment phase and are provided ongoing wound care and weekly assessments. Patients are required to return to the study centre every week for an additional 6 weeks of follow-up for wound evaluation and management. The primary outcome is freedom from having, or meeting the criteria for, a major amputation (below knee amputation, or metatarsal level) up to 12 weeks after randomization. The decision to amputate is made by a vascular surgeon. Other outcomes include wound healing, effectiveness, safety, healthcare resource utilization, quality of life, and cost-effectiveness. The study will run for a total of about 3 years.
The results of this study will provide detailed information on the efficacy of hyperbaric oxygen therapy for the treatment of non-healing ulcers of the lower limb. This will be the first double-blind randomized controlled trial for this health technology which evaluates the efficacy of hyperbaric oxygen therapy in prevention of amputations in diabetic patients.
Trial registration Identifier: NCT00621608
PMCID: PMC3061927  PMID: 21385365
10.  Autologous circulating angiogenic cells treated with osteopontin and delivered via a collagen scaffold enhance wound healing in the alloxan-induced diabetic rabbit ear ulcer model 
Diabetic foot ulceration is the leading cause of amputation in people with diabetes mellitus. Peripheral vascular disease is present in the majority of patients with diabetic foot ulcers. Despite standard treatments there exists a high amputation rate. Circulating angiogenic cells previously known as early endothelial progenitor cells are derived from peripheral blood and support angiogenesis and vasculogenesis, providing a potential topical treatment for non-healing diabetic foot ulcers.
A scaffold fabricated from Type 1 collagen facilitates topical cell delivery to a diabetic wound. Osteopontin is a matricellular protein involved in wound healing and increases the angiogenic potential of circulating angiogenic cells. A collagen scaffold seeded with circulating angiogenic cells was developed. Subsequently the effect of autologous circulating angiogenic cells that were seeded in a collagen scaffold and topically delivered to a hyperglycemic cutaneous wound was assessed. The alloxan-induced diabetic rabbit ear ulcer model was used to determine healing in response to the following treatments: collagen seeded with autologous circulating angiogenic cells exposed to osteopontin, collagen seeded with autologous circulating angiogenic cells, collagen alone and untreated wound. Stereology was used to assess angiogenesis in wounds.
The cells exposed to osteopontin and seeded on collagen increased percentage wound closure as compared to other groups. Increased angiogenesis was observed with the treatment of collagen and collagen seeded with circulating angiogenic cells.
These results demonstrate that topical treatment of full thickness cutaneous ulcers with autologous circulating angiogenic cells increases wound healing. Cells exposed to the matricellular protein osteopontin result in superior wound healing. The wound healing benefit is associated with a more efficient vascular network. This topical therapy provides a potential novel therapy for the treatment of non-healing diabetic foot ulcers in humans.
PMCID: PMC4054999  PMID: 24444259
11.  Collagen-based wound dressings for the treatment of diabetes-related foot ulcers: a systematic review 
Diabetic foot ulcers are a major source of morbidity, limb loss, and mortality. A prolonged inflammatory response, extracellular matrix degradation irregularities, and increased bacteria presence have all been hypothesized as major contributing factors in the delayed healing of diabetic wounds. Collagen components such as fibroblast and keratinocytes are fundamental to the process of wound healing and skin formation. Wound dressings that contain collagen products create a biological scaffold matrix that supports the regulation of extracellular components and promotes wound healing.
A systematic review of studies reporting collagen wound dressings used in the treatment of Diabetic foot ulcers was conducted. Comprehensive searches were run in Ovid MEDLINE, PubMed, EMBASE, and ISI Web of Science to capture citations pertaining to the use of collagen wound dressings in the treatment of diabetic foot ulcers. The searches were limited to human studies reported in English.
Using our search strategy, 26 papers were discussed, and included 13 randomized designs, twelve prospective cohorts, and one retrospective cohort, representing 2386 patients with diabetic foot ulcers. Our design was not a formal meta-analysis. In those studies where complete epithelialization, 58% of collagen-treated wounds completely healed (weighted mean 67%). Only 23% of studies reported control group healing with 29% healing (weighted mean 11%) described for controls.
Collagen-based wound dressings can be an effective tool in the healing of diabetic foot wounds. The current studies show an overall increase in healing rates despite limitations in study designs. This study suggests that future works focus on biofilms and extracellular regulation, and include high risk patients.
PMCID: PMC3555551  PMID: 23357897
bio films; matrix; wound healing; scaffold; dressings
12.  Topical Silver for Infected Wounds 
Journal of Athletic Training  2009;44(5):531-533.
Vermeulen H, van Hattem JM, Storm-Versloot MN, Ubbink DT. Topical silver for treating infected wounds. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2007(1);CD005486.
Clinical Question:
What is the clinical evidence base for silver dressings in the management of contaminated and infected acute and chronic wounds?
Data Sources:
Investigations were identified by Cochrane Wounds Group Specialized Register (2006), CENTRAL (2006), MEDLINE (2002–2006), EMBASE (2002–2006), CINAHL (2002–2006), and digital dissertations (2006) searches. Product manufacturers were contacted to identify additional eligible studies. The search terms included wound infection, surgical wound infection, ulcer, wound healing, and silver.
Study Selection:
Each study fulfilled the following criteria: (1) The study was a randomized controlled trial of human participants that compared dressings containing silver with any dressings without silver, dressings with other antiseptics, or dressings with different dosages of silver. (2) The participants were aged 18 years and older with contaminated and infected open wounds of any cause. (3) The study had to evaluate the effectiveness of the dressings using an objective measure of healing. No language or publication status restrictions were imposed, and participants could be recruited in any care setting. Studies were excluded if the wounds were ostomies (surgically formed passages).
Data Extraction:
Study quality assessment was conducted independently by 3 authors using the Dutch Institute for Health Care Improvement and Dutch Cochrane Centre protocols. Characteristics of the study, participants, interventions, and outcome measures were extracted by one author and verified by a second using a standard form. The principal outcome measure was healing (time to complete healing, rate of change in wound area and volume, number and proportion of wounds healed within trial period). Secondary measures were adverse events (eg, pain, maceration, erythema), dressing leakage, and wound odor. Based on the unique comparisons in the studies, a meta-analysis was not conducted. As a result, summary estimates of treatment effect were calculated for each outcome comparison. RevMan software (version 4.2; Cochrane Centre, Oxford, United Kingdom) was used for statistical analysis.
Main Results:
Specific search criteria identified 31 studies for review, of which 3 met the inclusion and exclusion criteria. Lack of randomization and absence of wound infections excluded the majority of studies from the review. In the 3 studies selected, silver-containing dressings were compared with nonsilver dressings and dressings with other antimicrobials. One group used a silver-containing foam dressing and a nonsilver foam dressing; another group used a silver-containing alginate and a nonsilver alginate; and a third group used a silver-containing foam and various dressings (nonsilver foams, alginates, hydrocolloids, and gauze and other antimicrobial dressings). Sample sizes ranged between 99 and 619 participants. Most of the wounds in the included studies were pressure, diabetic, and venous leg ulcers. Wound infection was subjectively defined by 1 group as the presence of 2 or more signs and symptoms (eg, continuous pain, erythema, heat, or moderate to high levels of exudate) and by the other 2 groups as signs of critical colonization (eg, delayed healing, increased pain and exudate levels, discoloration, and odor). The primary measure in the included studies was healing outcome. The 3 groups used various assessments of healing, including relative and absolute reduction in wound area and number of wounds healed during the trial period. The trial period in each study was 4 weeks. In the 3 trials, the authors randomized the participants to the treatment groups.
Examining healing, one group (129 participants) compared Contreet silver foam (Coloplast A/S, Humlebaek, Denmark) with Allevyn foam (Smith & Nephew, St-Laurent, Quebec, Canada). The authors reported no differences for rates of complete healing (risk difference [RD]  =  0.00, 95% confidence interval [CI]  =  −0.09, 0.09) and median wound area reduction (weighted mean difference [WMD]  =  −0.30 cm2, 95% CI  =  −2.92, 2.35). However, Contreet was favored over Allevyn (P  =  .034) for median relative reduction in wound area (WMD  =  −15.70 cm2, 95% CI  =  −29.5, −1.90). One group (99 participants) compared Silvercel silver alginate (Johnson & Johnson Wound Management, Somerville, NJ) with Algosteril alginate (Johnson & Johnson Wound Management). The authors found no differences in rates of complete healing (RD  =  0.00, 95% CI  =  −0.06, 0.05), mean absolute (WMD  =  4.50 cm2, 95% CI  =  −0.93, 9.93) and relative wound area reduction (WMD  =  −0.30 cm2, 95% CI  =  −17.08, 16.48), or healing rate per day (week 1 to 4) (WMD  =  0.16 cm2, 95% CI  =  −0.03, 0.35). One group (619 participants) compared Contreet with various dressings (nonsilver foams, alginates, hydrocolloids, and gauze and other antimicrobial dressings). For median relative wound area reduction, the authors noted a superiority of Contreet over the various dressings (P  =  .0019).
Examining secondary outcomes, 2 groups used subjective analysis to compare adverse reactions among the dressings. One group reported no difference between Contreet (in satellite ulcers, deterioration of periwound tissue) and Allevyn (in satellite ulcers, maceration, eczema) (RD  =  0.02, 95% CI  =  −0.07, 0.12), and one group found no difference between Silvercel (in pain during dressing change, eczema, periwound erythema, maceration) and Algosteril (in pain during dressing change, eczema, erythema) (RD  =  −0.01, 95% CI  =  −0.12, 0.11). Two groups subjectively assessed leakage among silver and nonsilver dressings. The data from one group demonstrated superiority of Contreet over Allevyn (P  =  .002; RD  =  −0.30, 95% CI  =  −0.47, −0.13), and one group found Contreet better than various dressings (eg, nonsilver foams, alginates, hydrocolloids, and gauze, and other antimicrobial dressings) (P  =  .0005; RD  =  −0.11, 95% CI  =  −0.18, −0.05). Using a subjective 4-point scale, one group compared silver and nonsilver dressings and reported a difference favoring Contreet over Allevyn in terms of wound odor (P  =  .030; RD  =  −0.19, 95% CI  =  −0.36, −0.03).
Overall, this review provides no clear evidence to support the use of silver-containing foam and alginate dressings in the management of infected chronic wounds for up to 4 weeks. However, the use of silver foam dressings resulted in a greater reduction in wound size and more effective control of leakage and odor than did use of nonsilver dressings. Randomized controlled trials using standardized outcome measures and longer follow-up periods are needed to determine the most appropriate dressing for contaminated and infected acute and chronic wounds.
PMCID: PMC2742464  PMID: 19771293
antiseptics; moist dressings; critical colonization; contamination
13.  Combination Therapy Accelerates Diabetic Wound Closure 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e92667.
Non-healing foot ulcers are the most common cause of non-traumatic amputation and hospitalization amongst diabetics in the developed world. Impaired wound neovascularization perpetuates a cycle of dysfunctional tissue repair and regeneration. Evidence implicates defective mobilization of marrow-derived progenitor cells (PCs) as a fundamental cause of impaired diabetic neovascularization. Currently, there are no FDA-approved therapies to address this defect. Here we report an endogenous PC strategy to improve diabetic wound neovascularization and closure through a combination therapy of AMD3100, which mobilizes marrow-derived PCs by competitively binding to the cell surface CXCR4 receptor, and PDGF-BB, which is a protein known to enhance cell growth, progenitor cell migration and angiogenesis.
Methods and Results
Wounded mice were assigned to 1 of 5 experimental arms (n = 8/arm): saline treated wild-type, saline treated diabetic, AMD3100 treated diabetic, PDGF-BB treated diabetic, and AMD3100/PDGF-BB treated diabetic. Circulating PC number and wound vascularity were analyzed for each group (n = 8/group). Cellular function was assessed in the presence of AMD3100. Using a validated preclinical model of type II diabetic wound healing, we show that AMD3100 therapy (10 mg/kg; i.p. daily) alone can rescue diabetes-specific defects in PC mobilization, but cannot restore normal wound neovascularization. Through further investigation, we demonstrate an acquired trafficking-defect within AMD3100-treated diabetic PCs that can be rescued by PDGF-BB (2 μg; topical) supplementation within the wound environment. Finally, we determine that combination therapy restores diabetic wound neovascularization and accelerates time to wound closure by 40%.
Combination AMD3100 and PDGF-BB therapy synergistically improves BM PC mobilization and trafficking, resulting in significantly improved diabetic wound closure and neovascularization. The success of this endogenous, cell-based strategy to improve diabetic wound healing using FDA-approved therapies is inherently translatable.
PMCID: PMC3961401  PMID: 24651576
14.  Maggot Debridement Therapy of Infected Ulcers: Patient and Wound Factors Influencing Outcome – A Study on 101 Patients with 117 Wounds 
It has been known for centuries that maggots are potent debriding agents capable of removing necrotic tissue and slough. In January 2004, the US Food and Drug Administration decided to regulate maggot debridement therapy (MDT). As it is still not clear which wounds are likely or unlikely to benefit from MDT, we performed a prospective study to gain more insight in patient and wound characteristics influencing outcome.
In the period between August 2002 and December 2005, patients with infected wounds with signs of gangrenous or necrotic tissue who seemed suited for MDT were enrolled in the present study. In total, 101 patients with 117 ulcers were treated. Most wounds were worst-case scenarios, in which maggot therapy was a treatment of last resort.
In total, 72 patients (71%) were classified as ASA III or IV. In total, 78 of 116 wounds (67%) had a successful outcome. These wounds healed completely (n = 60), healed almost completely (n = 12) or were clean at least (n = 6) at last follow-up. These results seem to be in line with those in the literature. All wounds with a traumatic origin (n = 24) healed completely. All wounds with septic arthritis (n = 13), however, failed to heal and led in half of these cases to a major amputation. According to a multivariate analysis, chronic limb ischaemia (odds ratio [OR], 7.5), the depth of the wound (OR, 14.0), and older age (≥ 60 years; OR, 7.3) negatively influenced outcome. Outcome was not influenced by gender, obesity, diabetes mellitus, smoking, ASAclassification, location of the wound, wound size or wound duration.
Some patient characteristics (i.e. gender, obesity, smoking behaviour, presence of diabetes mellitus and ASA-classification at presentation) and some wound characteristics (i.e. location of the wound, wound duration and size) do not seem to contra-indicate eligibility for MDT. However, older patients and patients with chronic limb ischaemia or deep wounds are less likely to benefit from MDT. Septic arthritis does not seem to be a good indication for MDT.
PMCID: PMC2121226  PMID: 18201474
Wound; Ulcer; Maggot debridement therapy; Predictors; Outcome
15.  Diabetic foot ulcers. Pathophysiology, assessment, and therapy. 
Canadian Family Physician  2001;47:1007-1016.
OBJECTIVE: To review underlying causes of diabetic foot ulceration, provide a practical assessment of patients at risk, and outline an evidence-based approach to therapy for diabetic patients with foot ulcers. QUALITY OF EVIDENCE: A MEDLINE search was conducted for the period from 1979 to 1999 for articles relating to diabetic foot ulcers. Most studies found were case series or small controlled trials. MAIN MESSAGE: Foot ulcers in diabetic patients are common and frequently lead to lower limb amputation unless a prompt, rational, multidisciplinary approach to therapy is taken. Factors that affect development and healing of diabetic patients' foot ulcers include the degree of metabolic control, the presence of ischemia or infection, and continuing trauma to feet from excessive plantar pressure or poorly fitting shoes. Appropriate wound care for diabetic patients addresses these issues and provides optimal local ulcer therapy with débridement of necrotic tissue and provision of a moist wound-healing environment. Therapies that have no known therapeutic value, such as foot soaking and topical antiseptics, can actually be harmful and should be avoided. CONCLUSION: Family physicians are often primary medical contacts for patients with diabetes. Patients should be screened regularly for diabetic foot complications, and preventive measures should be initiated for those at risk of ulceration.
PMCID: PMC2018500  PMID: 11398715
16.  A Prospective Study of Negative Pressure Wound Therapy With Integrated Irrigation for the Treatment of Diabetic Foot Ulcers 
Eplasty  2011;11:e5.
Objective: Patients with diabetes often present with pedal wounds resistant to standard wound healing modalities and become chronic in nature. These chronic wounds in diabetic patients have a high incidence of complications including infection and amputation. Negative pressure wound therapy has been found to facilitate healing of the stagnant pedal wound. This protocol was designed to determine wound closure rates using a unique negative pressure wound therapy system that delivers vacuum-assisted wound closure with a simultaneous irrigation feature (Svedman Wound Treatment System). Methods: A prospective single center study was conducted in adults with diabetic foot ulcers ≥cm2 or more in size showing no signs of clinical infection, and having adequate blood flow. Patients received dressing changes and irrigation on a standard regimen with weekly wound assessments for a minimum of 6 weeks. Results: 11 women and 8 men with a mean wound size of 2.4 cm × 2.2 cm were treated with the device. A total of 14 of /19 (74%) patients healed completely, with a median healing time of 34 days (range, 9-114). Eleven of 19 patients (58%) healed within the 6-week evaluation period. For the 5 patients who did not heal completely with the device, other treatments were utilized, including further wound debridement, muscle flaps, and skin grafting procedures. Conclusions: Negative pressure wound therapy with integrated irrigation was well tolerated by the patients without complications related to the device application or irrigation feature. The data clearly suggests that this technology may be a promising alternative for the chronic nonhealing diabetic wound.
PMCID: PMC3041586  PMID: 21369361
17.  Research: Treatment Effect of oral nutritional supplementation on wound healing in diabetic foot ulcers: a prospective randomized controlled trial 
Diabetic Medicine  2014;31(9):1069-1077.
Among people with diabetes, 10–25% will experience a foot ulcer. Research has shown that supplementation with arginine, glutamine and β-hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate may improve wound repair. This study tested whether such supplementation would improve healing of foot ulcers in persons with diabetes.
Along with standard of care, 270 subjects received, in a double-blinded fashion, (twice per day) either arginine, glutamine and β-hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate or a control drink for 16 weeks. The proportion of subjects with total wound closure and time to complete healing was assessed. In a post-hoc analysis, the interaction of serum albumin or limb perfusion, as measured by ankle–brachial index, and supplementation on healing was investigated.
Overall, there were no group differences in wound closure or time to wound healing at week 16. However, in subjects with an albumin level of ≤ 40 g/l and/or an ankle–brachial index of < 1.0, a significantly greater proportion of subjects in the arginine, glutamine and β-hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate group healed at week 16 compared with control subjects (P = 0.03 and 0.008, respectively). Those with low albumin or decreased limb perfusion in the supplementation group were 1.70 (95% CI 1.04–2.79) and 1.66 (95% CI 1.15–2.38) times more likely to heal.
While no differences in healing were identified with supplementation in non-ischaemic patients or those with normal albumin, addition of arginine, glutamine and β-hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate as an adjunct to standard of care may improve healing of diabetic foot ulcers in patients with risk of poor limb perfusion and/or low albumin levels. Further investigation involving arginine, glutamine and β-hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate in these high-risk subgroups might prove clinically valuable.
PMCID: PMC4232867  PMID: 24867069
18.  Recent advances on the association of apoptosis in chronic non healing diabetic wound 
World Journal of Diabetes  2014;5(6):756-762.
Generally, wounds are of two categories, such as chronic and acute. Chronic wounds takes time to heal when compared to the acute wounds. Chronic wounds include vasculitis, non healing ulcer, pyoderma gangrenosum, and diseases that cause ischemia. Chronic wounds are rapidly increasing among the elderly population with dysfunctional valves in their lower extremity deep veins, ulcer, neuropathic foot and pressure ulcers. The process of the healing of wounds has several steps with the involvement of immune cells and several other cell types. There are many evidences supporting the hypothesis that apoptosis of immune cells is involved in the wound healing process by ending inflammatory condition. It is also involved in the resolution of various phases of tissue repair. During final steps of wound healing most of the endothelial cells, macrophages and myofibroblasts undergo apoptosis or exit from the wound, leaving a mass that contains few cells and consists mostly of collagen and other extracellular matrix proteins to provide strength to the healing tissue. This review discusses the various phases of wound healing both in the chronic and acute wounds especially during diabetes mellitus and thus support the hypothesis that the oxidative stress, apoptosis, connexins and other molecules involved in the regulation of chronic wound healing in diabetes mellitus and gives proper understanding of the mechanisms controlling apoptosis and tissue repair during diabetes and may eventually develop therapeutic modalities to fasten the healing process in diabetic patients.
PMCID: PMC4265862  PMID: 25512778
Apoptosis; Diabetes mellitus; Diabetic foot; Chronic wound; Oxidative stress
19.  Increased Number of Langerhans Cells in the Epidermis of Diabetic Foot Ulcers Correlates with Healing Outcome 
Immunologic research  2013;57(0):222-228.
Langerhans cells (LCs) are a specialized subset of epidermal dendritic cells. They represent one of the first cells of immunological barrier and play an important role during the inflammatory phase of acute wound healing. Despite considerable progress in our understanding of the immunopathology of diabetes mellitus and its associated co-morbidities such as diabetic foot ulcers (DFUs), considerable gaps in our knowledge exist. In this study, we utilized the human ex vivo wound model and confirmed the increased epidermal LCs at wound edges during early phases of wound healing. Next, we aimed to determine differences in quantity of LCs between normal human and diabetic foot skin and to learn if the presence of LCs correlates with the healing outcome in DFUs. We utilized immunofluorescence to detect CD207+ LCs in specimens from normal and diabetic foot skin and DFU wound edges. Specimens from DFUs were collected at the initial visit and 4 weeks at the time when the healing outcome was determined. DFUs that decreased in size by >50% were considered to be healing, while DFUs with a size reduction of <50% were considered non-healing. Quantitative assessment of LCs showed a higher number of LCs in healing when compared to non–healing DFU’s. Our findings provide evidence that LCs are present in higher number in diabetic feet than normal foot skin. Healing DFUs show a higher number of LCs compared to non-healing DFUs. These findings indicate that the epidermal immune barrier plays an important role in the DFU healing outcome and may offer new therapeutic avenues targeting LC in non-healing DFUs.
PMCID: PMC4349345  PMID: 24277309
Langerhans Cells; Epidermis; Diabetic Foot Ulcers; Chronic Wound
20.  Topical Administration of Allogeneic Mesenchymal Stromal Cells Seeded in a Collagen Scaffold Augments Wound Healing and Increases Angiogenesis in the Diabetic Rabbit Ulcer 
Diabetes  2013;62(7):2588-2594.
There is a critical clinical need to develop therapies for nonhealing diabetic foot ulcers. Topically applied mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) provide a novel treatment to augment diabetic wound healing. A central pathological factor in nonhealing diabetic ulcers is an impaired blood supply. It was hypothesized that topically applied allogeneic MSCs would improve wound healing by augmenting angiogenesis. Allogeneic nondiabetic bone-marrow derived MSCs were seeded in a collagen scaffold. The cells were applied to a full-thickness cutaneous wound in the alloxan-induced diabetic rabbit ear ulcer model in a dose escalation fashion. Percentage wound closure and angiogenesis at 1 week was assessed using wound tracings and stereology, respectively. The topical application of 1,000,000 MSCs on a collagen scaffold demonstrated increased percentage wound closure when compared with lower doses. The collagen and collagen seeded with MSCs treatments result in increased angiogenesis when compared with untreated wounds. An improvement in wound healing as assessed by percentage wound closure was observed only at the highest cell dose. This cell-based therapy provides a novel therapeutic strategy for increasing wound closure and augmenting angiogenesis, which is a central pathophysiological deficit in the nonhealing diabetic foot ulcer.
PMCID: PMC3712062  PMID: 23423568
21.  The management of neuropathic ulcers of the foot in diabetes by shock wave therapy 
Diabetes is becoming one of the most common chronic diseases, and ulcers are its most serious complication. Beginning with neuropathy, the subsequent foot wounds frequently lead to lower extremity amputation, even in the absence of critical limb ischemia. In recent years, some researchers have studied external shock wave therapy (ESWT) as a new approach to soft tissue wound healing. The rationale of this study was to evaluate if ESWT is effective in the management of neuropathic diabetic foot ulcers.
We designed a randomized, prospective, controlled study in which we recruited 30 patients affected by neuropathic diabetic foot ulcers and then divided them into two groups based on different management strategies. One group was treated with standard care and shock wave therapy. The other group was treated with only standard care. The healing of the ulcers was evaluated over 20 weeks by the rate of re-epithelization.
After 20 weeks of treatment, 53.33% of the ESWT-treated patients had complete wound closure compared with 33.33% of the control patients, and the healing times were 60.8 and 82.2 days, respectively (p < 0.001). Significant differences in the index of the re-epithelization were observed between the two groups, with values of 2.97 mm2/die in the ESWT-group and 1.30 mm2/die in the control group (p < 0.001).
Therefore, ESWT may be a useful adjunct in the management of diabetic foot ulceration.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN21800909
PMCID: PMC2693140  PMID: 19473538
22.  The role of Renasys-GO™ in the treatment of diabetic lower limb ulcers: a case series 
Diabetic Foot & Ankle  2014;5:10.3402/dfa.v5.24718.
This case series aims to study the effectiveness of Renasys-GO™ negative pressure wound therapy system in the healing of diabetic lower limb ulcers.
Materials and methods
An electronic vacuum pump (Renasys-GO™, Smith & Nephew GmbH) was used to apply negative pressure wound therapy on wounds, with pressure settings determined according to clinical indication. Changes in wound dimension, infection status and duration of treatment were recorded over the course of Renasys-GO™ therapy in 10 patients with diabetic lower limb ulcers.
Healing was achieved in all wounds, three by secondary closure and seven by split-thickness skin grafting. Eight wounds showed a reduction in wound size. The average duration of treatment with Renasys-GO™ therapy was 15.9 days, and all wounds showed sufficient granulation and were cleared of bacterial infection at the end of therapy.
Renasys-GO™ therapy may be beneficial in the treatment of diabetic lower limb ulcers and wounds. In this study, which included wounds presenting as post-surgery ray amputation, metatarsal excision wounds, post-debridement abscesses and ulcers, the Renasys-GO™ therapy prepared all wounds for closure via split-thickness skin grafting or secondary healing by promoting granulation tissue and reducing bacterial infection in approximately 2 weeks.
PMCID: PMC4236639  PMID: 25406680
diabetic lower limb wounds; negative pressure wound therapy; wound healing
23.  Interleukin 2 Topical Cream for Treatment of Diabetic Foot Ulcer: Experiment Protocol 
JMIR Research Protocols  2015;4(3):e89.
It is estimated there are 2.9 million diabetic patients in the United Kingdom, and around 5%-7% of patients have diabetic ulcers. This number will continue to increase globally. Diabetic ulcers are a major economic burden on the healthcare system. More than £650 million is spent on foot ulcers or amputations each year, and up to 100 people a week have a limb amputated due to diabetes. In T1DM, the level of IL-2 is reduced, and hence, wound healing is in a prolonged inflammatory phase. It is not known if IL-2 topical cream can shorten the healing process in T1DM patients.
The objective of this study is to understand the pathophysiology in type 1 diabetes (T1DM) and investigate possible future treatment based on its clinical features. The hypothesis is that IL-2 cream can speed up wound healing in NOD mice and that this can be demonstrated in a ten-week study. An experiment protocol is designed in a mouse model for others to conduct the experiment. The discussion is purely based on diabetic conditions; lifestyle influences like smoking and drinking are not considered.
Skin incisions will be created on 20 nonobese diabetic (NOD) mice, and IL-2 topical cream will be applied in a 10-week study to prove the hypothesis. Mice will be randomly and equally divide into two groups with one being the control group.
T1DM patients have a decreased number of T regulatory (Treg) cells and interleukin 2 (IL-2). These are the keys to the disease progression and delay in wound healing. Diabetic ulcer is a chronic wound and characterized by a prolonged inflammatory phase.
If the experiment is successful, T1DM patients will have an alternative, noninvasive treatment of foot ulcers. In theory, patients with other autoimmune diseases could also use IL-2 topical cream for treatment.
PMCID: PMC4705025  PMID: 26276522
type 1 diabetes; topical cream; chronic wound healing; immunotherapy; IL-2
24.  Comparisons of negative pressure wound therapy and ultrasonic debridement for diabetic foot ulcers: a network meta-analysis 
Objective: a network meta-analysis was performed to compare the strength and weakness of negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT) with ultrasound debridement (UD) as for diabetic foot ulcers (DFU). Methods: PubMed, Ovid EMBASE, Web of Science, Cochrane library databases, and Chinese Biomedical Literature Database were searched till February 2015. Clinical compared studies of negative pressure wound therapy and ultrasound debridement were enrolled. The primary efficacy outcomes included healed ulcers, reduction of ulcer areas and time to closure. Secondary amputation including major and minor amputations was used to assess the safety profile. Results: Out of 715 studies, 32 were selected which enrolled 2880 diabetic patients. The pooled analysis revealed that NPWT including vacuum assisted closure (VAC) and vacuum sealing drainage (VSD) were as efficacious as ultrasound debridement improving healed ulcers, odds ratio, 0.86; 95% CI 0.28 to 2.6 and 1.2; 95% CI 0.38 to 4, respectively. However, both were better to standard wound care in wound healing patients. Compared with the standard wound care treated diabetic foot ulcers, NPWT and UD resulted in a significantly superior efficacy in time to wound closure and decrement in area of wound. No significances were observed between NPWT and UD groups in both indicators. Fewer patients tended to receive amputation in NPWT and UD groups compared to standard wound care group. Conclusions: The results of the network meta-analysis indicated that negative pressure wound therapy was similar to ultrasound debridement for diabetic foot ulcers, but better than standard wound care both in efficacy and safety profile.
PMCID: PMC4612850  PMID: 26550165
Negative pressure wound therapy; ultrasound debridement; diabetic foot; network meta-analysis
25.  Lack of Effectiveness of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for the Treatment of Diabetic Foot Ulcer and the Prevention of Amputation 
Diabetes Care  2013;36(7):1961-1966.
Hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) is a device that is used to treat foot ulcers. The study goal was to compare the effectiveness of HBO with other conventional therapies administered in a wound care network for the treatment of a diabetic foot ulcer and prevention of lower-extremity amputation.
This was a longitudinal observational cohort study. To address treatment selection bias, we used propensity scores to determine the “propensity” that an individual was selected to receive HBO.
We studied 6,259 individuals with diabetes, adequate lower limb arterial perfusion, and foot ulcer extending through the dermis, representing 767,060 person-days of wound care. In the propensity score–adjusted models, individuals receiving HBO were less likely to have healing of their foot ulcer (hazard ratio 0.68 [95% CI 0.63–0.73]) and more likely to have an amputation (2.37 [1.84–3.04]). Additional analyses, including the use of an instrumental variable, were conducted to assess the robustness of our results to unmeasured confounding. HBO was not found to improve the likelihood that a wound might heal or to decrease the likelihood of amputation in any of these analyses.
Use of HBO neither improved the likelihood that a wound would heal nor prevented amputation in a cohort of patients defined by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services eligibility criteria. The usefulness of HBO in the treatment of diabetic foot ulcers needs to be reevaluated.
PMCID: PMC3687310  PMID: 23423696

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