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1.  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: www.health.gov.on.ca/ohtas 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: http://www.health.gov.on.ca/english/providers/program/mas/tech/ohtas/tech_diabetes_20091020.html
Please visit the Toronto Health Economics and Technology Assessment Collaborative Web site at: http://theta.utoronto.ca/papers/MAS_CHF_Clinics_Report.pdf 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.
Objective
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.
Conclusion
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
2.  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, http://www.health.gov.on.ca/english/providers/program/mas/tech/tech_mn.html 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
Objective
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?
Background
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.
Technology
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.
Method
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
Findings from the analysis of the included studies are summarized below:
Cleansing
There is no good trial evidence to support the use of any particular wound cleansing solution or technique for pressure ulcers.
Debridement
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.
Dressings
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
3.  Negative Pressure Wound Therapy 
Executive Summary
Objective
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.
Conclusion
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
4.  Glycerin-Based Hydrogel for Infection Control 
Advances in Wound Care  2012;1(1):48-51.
Problem
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.
Solution
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.
Caution
Elasto-Gel™ is not approved for third-degree burns as no dressing has been approved by the FDA for this type of wound.
doi:10.1089/wound.2011.0288
PMCID: PMC3839013  PMID: 24527279
5.  Spinal Cord Stimulation for Neuropathic Pain 
Executive Summary
Objective
The objective of this health technology policy assessment was to determine the effectiveness of spinal cord stimulation (SCS) to manage chronic intractable neuropathic pain and to evaluate the adverse events and Ontario-specific economic profile of this technology.
Clinical Need
SCS is a reversible pain therapy that uses low-voltage electrical pulses to manage chronic, intractable neuropathic pain of the trunk or limbs. Neuropathic pain begins or is caused by damage or dysfunction to the nervous system and can be difficult to manage.
The prevalence of neuropathic pain has been estimated at about 1.5% of the population in the United States and 1% of the population in the United Kingdom. These prevalence rates are generalizable to Canada.
Neuropathic pain is extremely difficult to manage. People with symptoms that persist for at least 6 months or who have symptoms that last longer than expected for tissue healing or resolution of an underlying disease are considered to have chronic pain. Chronic pain is an emotional, social, and economic burden for those living with it. Depression, reduced quality of life (QOL), absenteeism from work, and a lower household income are positively correlated with chronic pain.
Although the actual number is unknown, a proportion of people with chronic neuropathic pain fail to obtain pain relief from pharmacological therapies despite adequate and reasonable efforts to use them. These people are said to have intractable neuropathic pain, and they are the target population for SCS.
The most common indication for SCS in North America is chronic intractable neuropathic pain due to failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS), a term that describes persistent leg or back and leg pain in patients who have had back or spine surgery. Neuropathic pain due to complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), which can develop in the distal aspect of a limb a minor injury, is another common indication. To a lesser extent, chronic intractable pain of postherpetic neuralgia, which is a persistent burning pain and hyperesthesia along the distribution of a cutaneous nerve after an attack of herpes zoster, is also managed with SCS.
For each condition, SCS is considered as a pain management therapy only after conventional pain therapies, including pharmacological, nonpharmacological, and surgical treatments, if applicable, have been attempted and have failed.
The Technology
The SCS technology consists of 3 implantable components: a pulse generator, an extension cable, and a lead (a small wire). The pulse generator is the power source for the spinal cord stimulator. It generates low-voltage electrical pulses. The extension cable connects the pulse generator to the lead. The lead is a small, insulated wire that has a set of electrodes at one end. The lead is placed into the epidural space on the posterior aspect of the spinal cord, and the electrodes are positioned at the level of the nerve roots innervating the painful area. An electrical current from the electrodes induces a paresthesia, or a tingling sensation that masks the pain.
Before SCS is initiated, candidates must have psychological testing to rule out major psychological illness, drug habituation, and issues of secondary gain that can negatively influence the success of the therapy. Successful candidates will have a SCS test stimulation period (trial period) to assess their responsiveness to SCS. The test stimulation takes about 1 week to complete, and candidates who obtain at least 50% pain relief during this period are deemed suitable to receive a permanent implantation of a spinal cord stimulator
Review Strategy
The Medical Advisory Secretariat (MAS) reviewed all published health technology assessments of spinal cord stimulation. Following this, a literature search was conducted from 2000 to January, 2005 and a systematic review of the literature was completed. The primary outcome for the systematic review was pain relief. Secondary outcomes included functional status and quality of life. After applying the predetermined inclusion and exclusion criteria, 2 randomized controlled trials (MAS level 2 evidence), and 2 prospective non-randomized controlled trials with a before-and-after-treatment study design (MAS level 3a evidence) were retrieved and reviewed.
Summary of Findings
The authors of 6 health technology assessments concluded that evidence exists to support the effectiveness of SCS to decrease pain in various neuropathic pain syndromes. However, the quality of this evidence varied among reports from weak to moderate.
The systematic review completed by MAS found high quality level 2 evidence that SCS decreases pain and level 3a evidence that it improves functional status and quality of life in some people with neuropathic pain conditions. The rate of technical failures was approximately 11%, which included electrode lead migration and/or malposition. Procedural complications included infection and dural puncture; each occurred at a rate of 1.2%.
Conclusions
SCS may be considered for patients with chronic, neuropathic pain for whom standard pain treatments have failed and when there is no indication for surgical intervention to treat the underlying condition.
PMCID: PMC3382299  PMID: 23074473
6.  Stress-Mediated Increases in Systemic and Local Epinephrine Impair Skin Wound Healing: Potential New Indication for Beta Blockers 
PLoS Medicine  2009;6(1):e1000012.
Background
Stress, both acute and chronic, can impair cutaneous wound repair, which has previously been mechanistically ascribed to stress-induced elevations of cortisol. Here we aimed to examine an alternate explanation that the stress-induced hormone epinephrine directly impairs keratinocyte motility and wound re-epithelialization. Burn wounds are examined as a prototype of a high-stress, high-epinephrine, wound environment. Because keratinocytes express the β2-adrenergic receptor (β2AR), another study objective was to determine whether β2AR antagonists could block epinephrine effects on healing and improve wound repair.
Methods and Findings
Migratory rates of normal human keratinocytes exposed to physiologically relevant levels of epinephrine were measured. To determine the role of the receptor, keratinocytes derived from animals in which the β2AR had been genetically deleted were similarly examined. The rate of healing of burn wounds generated in excised human skin in high and low epinephrine environments was measured. We utilized an in vivo burn wound model in animals with implanted pumps to deliver β2AR active drugs to study how these alter healing in vivo. Immunocytochemistry and immunoblotting were used to examine the up-regulation of catecholamine synthetic enzymes in burned tissue, and immunoassay for epinephrine determined the levels of this catecholamine in affected tissue and in the circulation. When epinephrine levels in the culture medium are elevated to the range found in burn-stressed animals, the migratory rate of both cultured human and murine keratinocytes is impaired (reduced by 76%, 95% confidence interval [CI] 56%–95% in humans, p < 0.001, and by 36%, 95% CI 24%–49% in mice, p = 0.001), and wound re-epithelialization in explanted burned human skin is delayed (by 23%, 95% CI 10%–36%, p = 0.001), as compared to cells or tissues incubated in medium without added epinephrine. This impairment is reversed by β2AR antagonists, is absent in murine keratinocytes that are genetically depleted of the β2AR, and is reproduced by incubation of keratinocytes with other β2AR-specific agonists. Activation of the β2AR in cultured keratinocytes signals the down-regulation of the AKT pathway, accompanied by a stabilization of the actin cytoskeleton and an increase in focal adhesion formation, resulting in a nonmigratory phenotype. Burn wound injury in excised human skin also rapidly up-regulates the intra-epithelial expression of the epinephrine synthesizing enzyme phenylethanolamine-N-methyltransferase, and tissue levels of epinephrine rise dramatically (15-fold) in the burn wounded tissue (values of epinephrine expressed as pg/ug protein ± standard error of the mean: unburned control, 0.6 ± 0.36; immediately postburn, 9.6 ± 1.58; 2 h postburn, 3.1 ± 1.08; 24 h post-burn, 6.7 ± 0.94). Finally, using an animal burn wound model (20% body surface in mice), we found that systemic treatment with βAR antagonists results in a significant increase (44%, 95% CI 27%–61%, p < 0.00000001) in the rate of burn wound re-epithelialization.
Conclusions
This work demonstrates an alternate pathway by which stress can impair healing: by stress-induced elevation of epinephrine levels resulting in activation of the keratinocyte β2AR and the impairment of cell motility and wound re-epithelialization. Furthermore, since the burn wound locally generates epinephrine in response to wounding, epinephrine levels are locally, as well as systemically, elevated, and wound healing is impacted by these dual mechanisms. Treatment with beta adrenergic antagonists significantly improves the rate of burn wound re-epithelialization. This work suggests that specific β2AR antagonists may be apt, near-term translational therapeutic targets for enhancing burn wound healing, and may provide a novel, low-cost, safe approach to improving skin wound repair in the stressed individual.
Rivkah Isseroff and colleagues describe how stress-induced elevation of epinephrine levels can impair the healing of burns in mice and suggest that β2 adrenergic receptor antagonists may have a role in improving skin wound repair.
Editors' Summary
Background.
Skin—the largest organ in the human body—protects the rest of the body against infection by forming an impervious layer over the whole external body surface. Consequently, if this layer is damaged by rubbing, cutting, or burning, it must be quickly and efficiently repaired. Wound repair (healing) involves several different processes. First, the clotting cascade stops bleeding at the wound site and immune system cells attracted into the site remove any bacteria or debris in the wound. Various factors are released by the immune cells and the other cells in and near the damaged area that encourage the migration of several different sorts of cells into the wound. These cells proliferate and prepare the wound for “re-epithelialization.” In this process, keratinocytes (a type of epithelial cell that makes a tough, insoluble protein called keratin; epithelial cells cover all the surfaces of the body) migrate into the wound site and form a new, intact epithelial layer. If any of these processes fail, the result can be a chronic (long-lasting) nonhealing wound. In particular, if the wound does not re-epithelialize, it remains open and susceptible to infection and loss of body fluids.
Why Was This Study Done?
One factor that impairs the repair of skin wounds is stress. In stressful situations (including situations in which wounds are likely to occur), the human body releases several chemicals that prepare the body for “fight or flight,” including cortisol and epinephrine (also called adrenaline). Most scientists ascribe the effects of stress on wound healing to stress-induced increases in cortisol, but might stress-induced epinephrine also affect wound healing? In this study, the researchers test whether epinephrine impairs keratinocyte migration and re-epithelialization of burn wounds (keratinocytes have a receptor for epinephrine called the β2 adrenergic receptor [β2AR] on their cell surface that allows them to respond to epinephrine). They chose to study burn wounds for two reasons. First, major burns cause a massive release of stress chemicals into the bloodstream that raises blood levels (systemic levels) of cortisol and epinephrine for days or weeks after the initial trauma. Second, despite recent therapeutic advances, many people still die from major burns (4,000 every year in the USA alone) so there is a pressing need for better ways to treat this type of wound.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers investigated the effects of epinephrine on wound healing in three types of experiments. First, they looked at the effect of epinephrine on keratinocytes growing in dishes (in vitro experiments). Levels of epinephrine similar to those in the blood of stressed individuals greatly inhibited the motility and migration of human keratinocytes (isolated from the foreskin of newborn babies) and of mouse keratinocytes. It also inhibited the repair of scratch wounds made in monolayers of keratinocytes growing on dishes. Treatment of the cultures with a β2AR antagonist (a chemical that prevents epinephrine activating the β2AR) reversed the effects of epinephrine. In addition, the migration of mouse keratinocytes that had been genetically altered so that they did not express β2AR was not inhibited by epinephrine. Next, the researchers investigated the healing of burn wounds made in small pieces of human skin growing in dishes (ex vivo experiments). Burn injuries rapidly increased the amount of epinephrine in these tissue explants, they report, and treatment of the explants with a βAR antagonist (an inhibitor of all types of βARs) greatly increased wound re-epithelialization. Finally, the researchers report that the re-epithelialization of burn wounds in living mice was improved when the mice were treated with a β2AR antagonist.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings reveal a second pathway by which stress can impair wound healing. They show that stress-induced increases in systemic and local epinephrine activate β2ARs on keratinocytes and that this activation inhibits keratinocyte motility and wound re-epithelialization. Although results obtained in animals do not always reflect what happens in people, the finding that the treatment of mice with β2AR antagonists improves the rate of burn wound re-epithelialization, suggests that beta blockers—drugs that inhibit all βARs and that are widely used to treat high blood pressure and to prevent heart disease—or specific β2AR antagonists might provide a new therapeutic approach to the treatment of burns and, perhaps, chronic nonhealing wounds.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000012.
Wikipedia has pages on wound healing, burn injuries, and epinephrine (Note: Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit; available in several languages)
The MedlinePlus Encyclopedia has a page on burns (in English and Spanish)
MedlinePlus provides links to other information on burns (in English and Spanish)
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000012
PMCID: PMC2621262  PMID: 19143471
7.  Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for Non-Healing Ulcers in Diabetes Mellitus 
Executive Summary
Objective
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.
Conclusions
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
8.  Prevention of pressure ulcers in spinal cord injury 
Journal of Injury and Violence Research  2012;4(3 Suppl 1): Paper No. 90.
Abstract:
Pressure ulcers are a lifelong, serious complication of spinal cord injury. They have the potential to interfere with physical, psychological, and social well-being and to impact overall quality of life.
Prevention Strategies:
1. Implementing pressure ulcer prevention strategies as part of the comprehensive management of acute SCI and reviewing all aspects of risk when determining prevention strategies.
- Avoiding prolonged positional immobilization whenever possible.
2. Conducting daily comprehensive visual and tactile skin inspections, with particular attention to the regions most vulnerable to pressure ulcer development.
3. Turning or repositioning individuals with SCI initially every 2 hours in the acute and rehabilitation phases if the medical condition allows.
4. Evaluating the individual and his/her support environment for optimal maintenance of skin integrity.
5. Providing an individually prescribed wheelchair and pressure-reducing seating system.
6. Implementing an ongoing exercise regimen for the medically stable SCI individual to promote maintenance of skin integrity, improve cardiovascular e, and prevent fatigue and deconditioning.
7. Providing individuals with SCI, their families, significant others, on effective strategies for the prevention and treatment of pressure ulcers.
8. Assessing nutritional status of all SCI individuals on admission and as needed, based on medical status, including:
9. Providing adequate nutritional intake to meet the individual’s needs, especially:
- Calories (or Energy)
- Protein
- Micronutrients (zinc, vitamin C, vitamin A, and vitamin E)
- Fluids
10. Implementing aggressive nutritional support measures if dietary intake is inadequate or if an individual is nutritionally compromised.
Treatment:
Nonsurgical:
- Cleansing
- Debridement
- Dressings
- Electrical stimulation
- Reassessment
Surgical:
- Excising of ulcer, surrounding scar, bursa, soft tissue calcification, and underlying necrotic or infected bone
- Filling dead space, enhancing vascularity of the healing wound, and distributing pressure off the bone
- Resurfacing with a large regional pedicle flap, with suture line away from the area of direct pressure, and one that does not encroach on adjacent flap territories
- Preserving options for future potential break-downs
Keywords:
Prevention, Pressure ulcers, Spinal Cord Injury
PMCID: PMC3571616
9.  Hyaluronic acid content of deep and subcutaneous bursae of man. 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  1983;42(2):171-175.
To provide a comparison of the contents of subcutaneous and deep bursae we dissected these structures from unfixed cadavers without apparent joint disease. No free fluid was found within any olecranon or prepatellar bursae (examples of subcutaneous bursae), while viscous fluid was invariably present in the (deep) retrocalcaneal bursae. The hyaluronic acid content of the washings of 5 rectrocalcaneal bursae ranged from 142 to 591 nmol hexosamine (mean = 281 nmol hexosamine). In contrast, the hyaluronic acid content of 4 olecranon bursae was much lower (range 35-72 nmol, mean 53 nmol hexosamine), and hyaluronate was not detected in washings from either of 2 prepatellar bursae. The greater hyaluronate content of the retrocalcaneal bursae did not appear to be due to a greater surface area, since on the basis of calculations made from plaster casts the surface areas of the olecranon and prepatellar bursae were approximately 3 times and 2 times, respectively, greater than that of the retrocalcaneal bursae. The data suggest that, although hyaluronic acid may lubricate deep bursae, other factors may be more important in reducing friction within superficial bursae.
Images
PMCID: PMC1001094  PMID: 6847262
10.  Office Treatment of Lower Extremity Injuries—A View of Feasibility, Limitations and Hazards 
California Medicine  1966;104(1):11-15.
The injuries to the lower extremities seen in a surgical office may be classified as contusions, lacerations, sprains, lesions of tendons and their sheaths, involvement of bursae, chronic muscle fatigue, infections and deformities of the nails, leg ulcers, and fractures of the ankle, foot and toes.
The treatment of these conditions in an office will vary under different circumstances, but one should be guided by certain fundamental rules. Contusions are best treated by the application of elastic compression bandages. Extensive lacerations should be explored under local anesthesia with the tourniquet in place, injured tissue excised, and the wound sutured. Ankle sprains should be strapped. Immediate hospitalization must be considered in all moderate to severe initial sprains to the knee. Lesions of bursae usually respond to the injection of hydrocortisone preparations. The same treatment is used in chronic muscle fatigue, plus immobilization of the part. Chronic recurrent infection and deformities of the nails are treated by removal of the nail under local anesthesia. Fractures of the ankle, the foot and toes may be reduced under local anesthesia and a cast applied. If further swelling is feared, the patient should be put in hospital immediately.
PMCID: PMC1516194  PMID: 5909245
11.  Does Ultrasound Correlate with Surgical or Histologic Findings in Greater Trochanteric Pain Syndrome? A Pilot Study 
Background
Greater trochanteric pain syndrome can be severely debilitating. Ideal imaging modalities are not established, treatments are not reliably evaluated, and the underlying pathology is not well understood.
Questions/purposes
Using surgical and histopathology findings as a gold standard, we therefore determined the positive predictive value of preoperative ultrasound assessment for greater trochanteric pain syndrome recalcitrant to nonoperative management. In addition, we report the outcomes of gluteal tendon reconstructive surgery using validated clinical and functional outcome tools and evaluate the contribution of the tendon and bursa to greater trochanteric pain syndrome.
Patients and Methods
We reviewed 24 patients who had combined gluteal tendon reconstruction and bursectomy. Preoperative ultrasound imaging was compared with surgical findings. In the absence of a greater trochanteric pain syndrome specific outcome tool, surgical outcomes for pain and function were assessed via a 100-mm visual analog scale, the modified Harris hip score, and the Oswestry Disability Index. Strength also was measured. The tendon and bursa tissue collected at surgery was histopathologically reviewed.
Results
In our small study, ultrasound had a high positive predictive value for gluteal tendon tears (positive predictive value = 1.0). Patients reported high levels of pain relief and function after surgery; tendon and bursa showed pathologic changes.
Conclusions
Ultrasound appears to be clinically useful in greater trochanteric pain syndrome; reconstructive surgery seems to relieve pain and the histopathologic findings show tendinopathy and bursa pathology coexist in greater trochanteric pain syndrome.
Level of Evidence
Level IV, case series. See the Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.
doi:10.1007/s11999-009-1174-2
PMCID: PMC2882020  PMID: 19941093
12.  Pressure Ulcer Prevention 
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, http://www.health.gov.on.ca/english/providers/program/mas/tech/tech_mn.html 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 (anticipated pubicstion date - mid-2009)
Purpose
A pressure ulcer, also known as a pressure sore, decubitus ulcer, or bedsore, is defined as a localized injury to the skin/and or underlying tissue occurring most often over a bony prominence and caused by pressure, shear, or friction, alone or in combination. (1) Those at risk for developing pressure ulcers include the elderly and critically ill as well as persons with neurological impairments and those who suffer conditions associated with immobility. Pressure ulcers are graded or staged with a 4-point classification system denoting severity. Stage I represents the beginnings of a pressure ulcer and stage IV, the severest grade, consists of full thickness tissue loss with exposed bone, tendon, and or muscle. (1)
In a 2004 survey of Canadian health care settings, Woodbury and Houghton (2) estimated that the prevalence of pressure ulcers at a stage 1 or greater in Ontario ranged between 13.1% and 53% with nonacute health care settings having the highest prevalence rate (Table 1).
Executive Summary Table 1: Prevalence of Pressure Ulcers*
CI indicates confidence interval.
Nonacute care included sub-acute care, chronic care, complex continuing care, long-term care, and nursing home care.
Mixed health care includes a mixture of acute, nonacute, and/or community care health care delivery settings.
Pressure ulcers have a considerable economic impact on health care systems. In Australia, the cost of treating a single stage IV ulcer has been estimated to be greater than $61,000 (AUD) (approximately $54,000 CDN), (3) while in the United Kingdom the total cost of pressure ulcers has been estimated at £1.4–£2.1 billion annually or 4% of the National Health Service expenditure. (4)
Because of the high physical and economic burden of pressure ulcers, this review was undertaken to determine which interventions are effective at preventing the development of pressure ulcers in an at-risk population.
Review Strategy
The main objective of this systematic review is to determine the effectiveness of pressure ulcer preventive interventions including Risk Assessment, Distribution Devices, Nutritional Supplementation, Repositioning, and Incontinence Management.
A comprehensive literature search was completed for each of the above 5 preventive interventions. The electronic databases searched included MEDLINE, MEDLINE In-Process and Other Non-Indexed Citations, EMBASE, the Cochrane Library, and the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature. As well, the bibliographic references of selected studies were searched. All studies meeting explicit inclusion and exclusion criteria for each systematic review section were retained and the quality of the body of evidence was determined using the Grading of Recommendation Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) system. (5) Where appropriate, a meta-analysis was undertaken to determine the overall estimate of effect of the preventive intervention under review.
Summary of Findings
Risk Assessment
There is very low quality evidence to support the hypothesis that allocating the type of pressure-relieving equipment according to the person’s level of pressure ulcer risk statistically decreases the incidence of pressure ulcer development. Similarly, there is very low quality evidence to support the hypothesis that incorporating a risk assessment into nursing practice increases the number of preventative measures used per person and that these interventions are initiated earlier in the care continuum.
Pressure Redistribution Devices
There is moderate quality evidence that the use of an alternative foam mattress produces a relative risk reduction (RRR) of 69% in the incidence of pressure ulcers compared with a standard hospital mattress. The evidence does not support the superiority of one particular type of alternative foam mattress.
There is very low quality evidence that the use of an alternating pressure mattress is associated with an RRR of 71% in the incidence of grade 1 or 2 pressure ulcers. Similarly, there is low quality evidence that the use of an alternating pressure mattress is associated with an RRR of 68% in the incidence of deteriorating skin changes.
There is moderate quality evidence that there is a statistically nonsignificant difference in the incidence of grade 2 pressure ulcers between persons using an alternating pressure mattress and those using an alternating pressure overlay.
There is moderate quality evidence that the use of an Australian sheepskin produces an RRR of 58% in the incidence of pressure ulcers grade 1 or greater. There is also evidence that sheepskins are uncomfortable to use. The Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel noted that, in general, sheepskins are not a useful preventive intervention because they bunch up in a patient’s bed and may contribute to wound infection if not properly cleaned, and this reduces their acceptability as a preventive intervention.
There is very low quality evidence that the use of a Micropulse System alternating pressure mattress used intra operatively and postoperatively produces an RRR of 79% in the incidence of pressure ulcers compared with a gel-pad used intraoperatively and a standard hospital mattress used postoperatively (standard care). It is unclear if this effect is due to the use of the alternating pressure mattress intraoperatively or postoperatively or if indeed it must be used in both patient care areas.
There is low quality evidence that the use of a vesico-elastic polymer pad (gel pad) on the operating table for surgeries of at least 90 minutes’ duration produces a statistically significant RRR of 47% in the incidence of pressure ulcers grade 1 or greater compared with a standard operating table foam mattress.
There is low quality evidence that the use of an air suspension bed in the intensive care unit (ICU) for stays of at least 3 days produces a statistically significant RRR of 76% in the incidence of pressure ulcers compared with a standard ICU bed.
There is very low quality evidence that the use of an alternating pressure mattress does not statistically reduce the incidence of pressure ulcers compared with an alternative foam mattress.
Nutritional Supplementation
There is very low quality evidence supporting an RRR of 15% in the incidence of pressure ulcers when nutritional supplementation is added to a standard hospital diet.
Repositioning
There is low quality evidence supporting the superiority of a 4-hourly turning schedule with a vesico-elastic polyurethane foam mattress compared with a 2-hourly or 3-hourly turning schedule and a standard foam mattress to reduce the incidence of grade 1 or 2 pressure ulcers.
Incontinence Management
There is very low quality evidence supporting the benefit of a structured skin care protocol to reduce the incidence of grade 1 or 2 pressure ulcers in persons with urinary and/or fecal incontinence.
There is low quality evidence supporting the benefit of a pH-balanced cleanser compared with soap and water to reduce the incidence of grade 1 or 2 pressure ulcers in persons with urinary and fecal incontinence.
Conclusions
There is moderate quality evidence that an alternative foam mattress is effective in preventing the development of pressure ulcers compared with a standard hospital foam mattress.
However, overall there remains a paucity of moderate or higher quality evidence in the literature to support many of the preventive interventions. Until better quality evidence is available, pressure ulcer preventive care must be guided by expert opinion for those interventions where low or very low quality evidence supports the effectiveness of such interventions.
Abbreviations
Confidence interval
Grading of Recommendation Assessment, Development, and Evaluation
Intensive care unit
Medical Advisory Secretariat
National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel
Risk assessment scale
Randomized controlled trial
Registered Nurses Association of Ontario
Relative risk
Relative risk reduction
PMCID: PMC3377566  PMID: 23074524
13.  Improvement of wound healing by water-filtered infrared-A (wIRA) in patients with chronic venous stasis ulcers of the lower legs including evaluation using infrared thermography 
Background: Water-filtered infrared-A (wIRA) is a special form of heat radiation with a high tissue-penetration and with a low thermal burden to the surface of the skin. wIRA is able to improve essential and energetically meaningful factors of wound healing by thermal and non-thermal effects.
Aim of the study: prospective study (primarily planned randomised, controlled, blinded, de facto with one exception only one cohort possible) using wIRA in the treatment of patients with recalcitrant chronic venous stasis ulcers of the lower legs with thermographic follow-up.
Methods: 10 patients (5 males, 5 females, median age 62 years) with 11 recalcitrant chronic venous stasis ulcers of the lower legs were treated with water-filtered infrared-A and visible light irradiation (wIRA(+VIS), Hydrosun® radiator type 501, 10 mm water cuvette, water-filtered spectrum 550–1400 nm) or visible light irradiation (VIS; only possible in one patient). The uncovered wounds of the patients were irradiated two to five times per week for 30 minutes at a standard distance of 25 cm (approximately 140 mW/cm2 wIRA and approximately 45 mW/cm2 VIS). Treatment continued for a period of up to 2 months (typically until closure or nearly closure of the ulcer). The main variable of interest was “percent change of ulcer size over time” including complete wound closure. Additional variables of interest were thermographic image analysis, patient’s feeling of pain in the wound, amount of pain medication, assessment of the effect of the irradiation (by patient and by clinical investigator), assessment of feeling of the wound area (by patient), assessment of wound healing (by clinical investigator) and assessment of the cosmetic state (by patient and by clinical investigator). For these assessments visual analogue scales (VAS) were used.
Results: The study showed a complete or nearly complete healing of lower leg ulcers in 7 patients and a clear reduction of ulcer size in another 2 of 10 patients, a clear reduction of pain and pain medication consumption (e.g. from 15 to 0 pain tablets per day), and a normalization of the thermographic image (before the beginning of the therapy typically hyperthermic rim of the ulcer with relative hypothermic ulcer base, up to 4.5°C temperature difference). In one patient the therapy of an ulcer of one leg was performed with the fully active radiator (wIRA(+VIS)), while the therapy of an ulcer of the other leg was made with a control group radiator (only VIS without wIRA), showing a clear difference in favour of the wIRA treatment. All mentioned VAS ratings improved remarkably during the period of irradiation treatment, representing an increased quality of life. Failures of complete or nearly complete wound healing were seen only in patients with arterial insufficiency, in smokers or in patients who did not have venous compression garment therapy.
Discussion and conclusions: wIRA can alleviate pain considerably (with an impressive decrease of the consumption of analgesics) and accelerate wound healing or improve a stagnating wound healing process and diminish an elevated wound exudation and inflammation both in acute and in chronic wounds (in this study shown in chronic venous stasis ulcers of the lower legs) and in problem wounds including infected wounds. In chronic recalcitrant wounds complete healing is achieved, which was not reached before. Other studies have shown that even without a disturbance of wound healing an acute wound healing process can be improved (e.g. reduced pain) by wIRA.
wIRA is a contact-free, easily used and pleasantly felt procedure without consumption of material with a good penetration effect, which is similar to solar heat radiation on the surface of the earth in moderate climatic zones. Wound healing and infection defence (e.g. granulocyte function including antibacterial oxygen radical formation of the granulocytes) are critically dependent on a sufficient energy supply (and on sufficient oxygen). The good clinical effect of wIRA on wounds and also on problem wounds and wound infections can be explained by the improvement of both the energy supply and the oxygen supply (e.g. for the granulocyte function). wIRA causes as a thermal effect in the tissue an improvement in three decisive factors: tissue oxygen partial pressure, tissue temperature and tissue blood flow. Besides this non-thermal effects of infrared-A by direct stimulation of cells and cellular structures with reactions of the cells have also been described. It is concluded that wIRA can be used to improve wound healing, to reduce pain, exudation, and inflammation and to increase quality of life.
PMCID: PMC2703263  PMID: 19675738
water-filtered infrared-A (wIRA); wound healing; chronic venous stasis ulcers of the lower legs; infrared thermography; thermographic image analysis; prospective study; visual analogue scales (VAS); reduction of pain; problem wounds; wound infections; energy supply; oxygen supply; tissue oxygen partial pressure; tissue temperature; tissue blood flow; quality of life
14.  Retro-Inferior Coccygeal Adventitious Bursa (Hadoti Bursa): A Study of Three Cases 
The Indian Journal of Surgery  2012;75(Suppl 1):345-346.
It is not unusual to encounter callosity at deformed bony pressure points such as at lateral malleolus of ankle or head of first metatarsal in hallux valgus. Herein, we report for the first time posterior inferior coccygeal adventitious bursa (from Hadoti area of Jhalawar in Rajasthan, India) presenting as a painless nonprogressive swelling of significant size encountered in three patients.
doi:10.1007/s12262-012-0647-9
PMCID: PMC3693237  PMID: 24426611
Abnormal coccygeal anomaly/topography presenting as pseudobursa; Adventitious bursa proximo-posterior to natal cleft; Hadoti bursa
15.  CICATRIZATION OF WOUNDS  
In the study of the action of non-antiseptic substances on the rate of cicatrization, the chief obstacle encountered is the facility with which wounds become reinfected under an aseptic dressing. At the beginning of Experiment 1 the wound was sterile. It was subjected to flushing with distilled water for 2 hours, then to flushing with 30 per cent sodium chloride solution for another 2 hours. During that time no special precaution was taken to sterilize the wound and the dressing was left intact until the following morning. It was then found that the wound contained from 30 to 50 bacteria per field. The following day, after the wound had been subjected to the same treatment, the number of bacteria had increased to 50 and 100 per field, and as an immediate consequence the surface of the wound increased from 12 to 12.6 sq. cm. in 2 days. The wound was then dressed antiseptically and was found to be sterile 3 days later. Reinfection again took place the following day in spite of antiseptic dressing with chloramine paste 4 parts per 1,000, which was applied for 20 hours. In Experiment 2 similar results were observed. After 2 days of flushing with distilled water, the number of bacteria had increased to 50 per field. The wound was thereupon sterilized, but new reinfection ensued a few days later. Another wound on the same patient became reinfected under the same conditions after 1 day of sterile dressing. In none of the patients could the wounds be kept in a sterile condition throughout the whole experiment. It was impossible to maintain the sterility of a wound under aseptic dressing. Dakin's solution was therefore injected every 4 hours, or less often, according to the degree of infection, or chloramine paste was applied during the night. If there were 3 or 4 bacteria per field, the experiment was discontinued in order that the wound might be sterilized again. The cicatrization and bacteriological curves of Experiment 4 show that by the application of chloramine paste a wound may be maintained in an appropriately bacteriological condition for carrying out an experiment. Nevertheless, in spite of the antiseptic precautions taken, it was necessary to interrupt this experiment on two occasions, on December 13 to 15 and on December 18 to 22, in order that a complete sterilization of the wound might be effected. When the sterilization was performed as soon as the bacteria were discovered, little retardation occurred in the process of cicatrization. Moreover, the reinfection from the skin was often due to fine bacilli which have but mild retarding action on the rate of healing. The use of at least six flushings in 2 hours with Dakin's solution or of 12 hours' dressing with chloramine paste 10 parts per 1,000, was necessary to keep the wound in a condition of surgical asepsis. The action of distilled water was studied in Experiments 1, 2, and 3. In Experiment 1 the wound was subjected to flushing with distilled water first for 2 hours, then 4 hours, and later for 8 hours per day. The wound was maintained in a condition of mild infection. No marked modification, either acceleration or retardation, was noted in the rate of repair during the period that the treatment was applied. From November 21 to 25 the wound was almost clean and the observed curve remained parallel to the calculated curve, showing that distilled water did not retard the rate of healing. In Experiment 2 the wound was subjected to uninterrupted flushing with distilled water, first for 2 and 8 hours, then for 24 hours. It was continued from November 24 to 30; viz., for 112 hours out of 120, without the occurrence of any marked modification of the course of healing. The bacteriological curve showed that from November 22 to 27 inclusive the wound was kept aseptic. The slight retardation which occurred afterwards was probably brought about by the infection. In Experiment 3 the wound was subjected to flushing with distilled water, first for 2, then for 4, 6, and 8 hours, a total of 20 hours in 4 days. From November 21 to 24 the wound remained surgically aseptic. No modification in the rate of healing occurred. The action of the hypertonic sodium chloride solution was studied in a similar way. In Experiment 4 the wound was flushed at first with 40 per cent sodium chloride solution, from December 4 to 9 for 12 hours a day, and from December 10 to 13 for 24 hours a day, making a total of 144 hours out of 240 hours. At the end of this time the surface area of the wound coincided exactly with the calculated area. Owing to reinfection the experiment was suspended. From December 24 to 29 the wound was kept in contact with 50 per cent sodium chloride solution for 54 hours, and after December 30 flushing with 80 per cent solution for 24 hours a day was resorted to. The total amount of time involved in the above treatments was 174 hours with 40 per cent solution, 72 hours with 50 per cent solution, and 120 hours with 80 per cent solution. On January 1, the surface measured 11 sq. cm. and the calculated surface was 11.3 sq. cm. On January 5 the. surface observed was 10 sq. cm. and the calculated surface was 9 sq. cm. It should be noticed that on January 5 the bacteria numbered 4 per field, which might account for the difference. In Experiment 5 the wound was flushed for 24 hours every day with 50 per cent sodium chloride solution from December 11 to 18, a total of 192 hours. From December 18 to 24 the wound was dressed with agar-agar cakes containing 40 per cent sodium chloride. The concentration was raised to 50 per cent from December 24 to 27. The cicatrization curve indicates only a slight retardation of the repair which can be attributed to infection when both cicatrization and infection curves are compared. The temporary acceleration on the 13th may have been due to the influence of the dressing, but as it did not occur again an experimental error is probably the cause of the change observed in the curve. In Experiment 6 two practically identical wounds at a distance of but a few centimeters from each other were located on the right thigh of Patient 721. The areas of the wounds were respectively 40 and 33 sq. cm. One of the wounds was flushed with distilled water only. The other was subjected to the action of 40 per cent sodium chloride solution. From December 20 to 25 both wounds were in a condition of surgical asepsis. However, the cicatrization curves show that in spite of the difference of treatment the rate of healing was not modified. The rate of healing of the wounds did not therefore apparently undergo any measurable modification under the influence of distilled water or hypertonic salt solution. It is well known that the osmotic changes of the medium have a marked influence on tissues deprived of circulation. But it seems that a tissue with normal circulation is protected by it against the changes of the osmotic pressure occurring at its surface. The above experiments show that apparently the conditions of the tissues of a wound are not modified by the changes of the osmotic pressure of the dressing. The beneficial effects of hypertonic sodium chloride solution on the sterilization of wounds and on the rate of healing recently described by various surgeons are possibly an illusion due to lack of precise technique.
PMCID: PMC2125649  PMID: 19868150
16.  Treatment of myofascial trigger points in common shoulder disorders by physical therapy: A randomized controlled trial [ISRCTN75722066] 
Background
Shoulder disorders are a common health problem in western societies. Several treatment protocols have been developed for the clinical management of persons with shoulder pain. However available evidence does not support any protocol as being superior over others. Systematic reviews provide some evidence that certain physical therapy interventions (i.e. supervised exercises and mobilisation) are effective in particular shoulder disorders (i.e. rotator cuff disorders, mixed shoulder disorders and adhesive capsulitis), but there is an ongoing need for high quality trials of physical therapy interventions. Usually, physical therapy consists of active exercises intended to strengthen the shoulder muscles as stabilizers of the glenohumeral joint or perform mobilisations to improve restricted mobility of the glenohumeral or adjacent joints (shoulder girdle). It is generally accepted that a-traumatic shoulder problems are the result of impingement of the subacromial structures, such as the bursa or rotator cuff tendons. Myofascial trigger points (MTrPs) in shoulder muscles may also lead to a complex of symptoms that are often seen in patients diagnosed with subacromial impingement or rotator cuff tendinopathy. Little is known about the treatment of MTrPs in patients with shoulder disorders.
The primary aim of this study is to investigate whether physical therapy modalities to inactivate MTrPs can reduce symptoms and improve shoulder function in daily activities in a population of chronic a-traumatic shoulder patients when compared to a wait-and-see strategy. In addition we investigate the recurrence rate during a one-year-follow-up period.
Methods/Design
This paper presents the design for a randomized controlled trial to be conducted between September 2007 – September 2008, evaluating the effectiveness of a physical therapy treatment for non-traumatic shoulder complaints. One hundred subjects are included in this study. All subjects have unilateral shoulder pain for at least six months and are referred to a physical therapy practice specialized in musculoskeletal disorders of the neck-, shoulder-, and arm.
After the initial assessment patients are randomly assigned to either an intervention group or a control-group (wait and see). The primary outcome measure is the overall score of the Dutch language version of the DASH (Disabilities of Arm, Shoulder and Hand) questionnaire.
Discussion
Since there is only little evidence for the efficacy of physical therapy interventions in certain shoulder disorders, there is a need for further research. We found only a few studies examining the efficacy of MTrP therapy for shoulder disorders. Therefore we will perform a randomised clinical trial of the effect of physical therapy interventions aimed to inactivate MTrPs, on pain and impairment in shoulder function in a population of chronic a-traumatic shoulder patients. We opted for an intervention strategy that best reflects daily practice. Manual high velocity thrust techniques and dry-needling are excluded. Because in most physical therapy interventions, blinding of the patient and the therapist is not possible, we will perform a randomised, controlled and observer-blinded study.
Trial Registration
This randomized clinical trial is registered at current controlled trials ISRCTN75722066.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-8-107
PMCID: PMC2246010  PMID: 17983467
17.  Evaluation of the efficacy of hyperbaric oxygen therapy in the management of chronic nonhealing ulcer and role of periwound transcutaneous oximetry as a predictor of wound healing response: A randomized prospective controlled trial 
Background:
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is a treatment option for chronic nonhealing wounds. Transcutaneous oximetry (TCOM) is used for wound assessment. We undertook a randomized prospective controlled trial to evaluate the role of HBOT in healing of chronic nonhealing wounds and to determine whether TCOM predicts healing.
Materials and Methods:
This study was conducted in 30 consenting patients with nonhealing ulcer. The patients were randomized into group HT (receiving HBOT in addition to conventional treatment) and group CT (receiving only conventional treatment). Duration of treatment in both the groups was 30 days. Wound ulcer was analyzed based on size of the wound, exudates, presence of granulation tissue, and wound tissue scoring. Tissue oxygenation (TcPO2) was measured on 0, 10th, 20th, and 30th day.
Results:
There was 59% reduction in wound area in group HT and 26% increase in wound area in group CT. Ten patients in group HT showed improvement in wound score as compared to five patients in group CT. Complete healing was seen in three patients in group HT as compared to none in group CT. Surgical debridement was required in 6 patients in group HT and 10 patients in group CT. One patient in group HT required amputation as compared to five patients in group CT. A positive correlation was found between TcPO2 value and various markers of wound healing.
Conclusion:
HBOT has a definitive adjunctive role in the management of chronic nonhealing ulcers. It decreases the amputation rate and improves patient outcome. Periwound TcPO2 may be used as a predictor of response to HBOT and has a positive correlation with wound healing.
doi:10.4103/0970-9185.92444
PMCID: PMC3275977  PMID: 22345950
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy; nonhealing wounds; transcutaneous oximetry
18.  Wound Care Specialization: The Current Status and Future Plans to Move Wound Care into the Medical Community 
Advances in Wound Care  2012;1(5):184-188.
Background
There has been an explosion of basic science results in the field of wound care over the past 20 years. Initially, wound dressings were the only therapeutic option available to the wound practitioner. With advanced basic science knowledge, technical innovation, and the recent participation of pharmaceutical companies, the wound clinician now has an arsenal of dressings, biological tissue replacements, gene therapy, and cell-based treatment options. What has not, however, kept pace with these changes is the education and practical training for those treating nonhealing wounds. The pace of innovation in wound diagnostic tools has also lagged, creating even more pressure on the clinician to use experience, skill, and training to properly diagnose the root cause for the nonhealing wound. As wound healing is not considered a medical specialty, there is no formal training process for physicians, and subsequently, allied health practitioners are often the only ones available to provide care for these complex patients. Wound care training, however, is also not part of any formal curriculum for these healthcare providers as well, creating confusion for patients, payors, regulators, researchers, and product manufacturers.
The Problem
In all other fields of medicine there is a formal process in place for physicians to train, certify, and credential. Medicine is constantly evolving and there have been several new fields of specialty care created over the past two decades that can serve as examples for the wound care field to follow. Without academic-based, clinical residency/fellowship training in wound healing ultimately leading to formal certification, the field will be unable to achieve an appropriate status in the medical establishment. Achieving this goal will impact product innovation, payment, and the sustainability of the field.
Basic/Clinical Science Advances
The enhanced understanding of normal and dysregulated wound healing processes, which have been uncovered by basic scientists, has translated to the bedside through the creation of multiple advanced biological solutions for patients with nonhealing wounds.
Clinical Care Relevance
These advanced wound care therapeutics will require physician involvement in a way not previously seen in wound care. It will no longer be possible to practice wound care “part time” in the near future. The amount of new information and massive base of core knowledge required will mandate a full-time commitment. The increase in patients with this condition because of an aging population, increased numbers of diabetic patients, and the ever growing epidemic of obesity will mandate that all clinicians providing wound care will need to increase their skill sets through formal training. In addition, underserved patient populations are disproportionately affected and their outcomes are comparatively worse, further complicating the problem at a healthcare structural and policy level.
Conclusion
The American College of Wound Healing and Tissue Repair was founded in Illinois as a nonprofit organization whose express function is to organize university-based medical school programs around a common curriculum for physicians who want to specialize in wound healing. Currently, two wound care fellows have graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago and other programs are under development. The ultimate process will be achieved when certification is accredited by an organization such as the American Board of Medical Specialties. This article outlines the current process in place to achieve this goal within 10 years.
doi:10.1089/wound.2011.0346
PMCID: PMC3839023  PMID: 24527303
19.  Therapy of acute wounds with water-filtered infrared-A (wIRA) 
Water-filtered infrared-A (wIRA) as a special form of heat radiation with a high tissue penetration and with a low thermal load to the skin surface acts both by thermal and thermic as well as by non-thermal and non-thermic effects. wIRA produces a therapeutically usable field of heat in the tissue and increases tissue temperature, tissue oxygen partial pressure, and tissue perfusion. These three factors are decisive for a sufficient tissue supply with energy and oxygen and consequently as well for wound healing and infection defense.
wIRA can considerably alleviate the pain (with remarkably less need for analgesics) and diminish an elevated wound exudation and inflammation and can show positive immunomodulatory effects. wIRA can advance wound healing or improve an impaired wound healing both in acute and in chronic wounds including infected wounds. Even the normal wound healing process can be improved.
A prospective, randomized, controlled, double-blind study with 111 patients after major abdominal surgery at the University Hospital Heidelberg, Germany, showed with 20 minutes irradiation twice a day (starting on the second postoperative day) in the group with wIRA and visible light VIS (wIRA(+VIS), approximately 75% wIRA, 25% VIS) compared to a control group with only VIS a significant and relevant pain reduction combined with a markedly decreased required dose of analgesics: during 230 single irradiations with wIRA(+VIS) the pain decreased without any exception (median of decrease of pain on postoperative days 2-6 was 13.4 on a 100 mm visual analog scale VAS 0-100), while pain remained unchanged in the control group (p<0.001). The required dose of analgesics was 57-70% lower in the subgroups with wIRA(+VIS) compared to the control subgroups with only VIS (median 598 versus 1398 ml ropivacaine, p<0.001, for peridural catheter analgesia; 31 versus 102 mg piritramide, p=0.001, for patient-controlled analgesia; 3.4 versus 10.2 g metamizole, p=0.005, for intravenous and oral analgesia). During irradiation with wIRA(+VIS) the subcutaneous oxygen partial pressure rose markedly by approximately 30% and the subcutaneous temperature by approximately 2.7°C (both in a tissue depth of 2 cm), whereas both remained unchanged in the control group: after irradiation the median of the subcutaneous oxygen partial pressure was 41.6 (with wIRA) versus 30.2 mm Hg in the control group (p<0.001), the median of the subcutaneous temperature was 38.9 versus 36.4°C (p<0.001). The overall evaluation of the effect of irradiation, including wound healing, pain and cosmesis, assessed on a VAS (0-100 with 50 as indifferent point of no effect) by the surgeon (median 79.0 versus 46.8, p<0.001) or the patient (79.0 versus 50.2, p<0.001) was markedly better in the group with wIRA compared to the control group. This was also true for single aspects: Wound healing assessed on a VAS by the surgeon (median 88.6 versus 78.5, p<0.001) or the patient (median 85.8 versus 81.0, p=0.040, trend) and cosmetic result assessed on a VAS by the surgeon (median 84.5 versus 76.5, p<0.001) or the patient (median 86.7 versus 73.6, p=0.001). In addition there was a trend in favor of the wIRA group to a lower rate of total wound infections (3 of 46, approximately 7%, versus 7 of 48, approximately 15%, p=0.208) including late infections after discharge, caused by the different rate of late infections after discharge: 0 of 46 in the wIRA group and 4 of 48 in the control group. And there was a trend towards a shorter postoperative hospital stay: 9 days in the wIRA group versus 11 days in the control group (p=0.037). The principal finding of this study was that postoperative irradiation with wIRA can improve even a normal wound healing process.
A prospective, randomized, controlled, double-blind study with 45 severely burned children at the Children’s Hospital Park Schönfeld, Kassel, Germany, showed with 30 minutes irradiation once a day (starting on the first day, day of burn as day 1) in the group with wIRA and visible light VIS (wIRA(+VIS), approximately 75% wIRA, 25% VIS) compared to a control group with only VIS a markedly faster reduction of wound size. On the fifth day (after 4 days with irradiation) decision was taken, whether surgical debridement of necrotic tissue was necessary because of deeper (second degree, type b) burns (11 of 21 in the group with wIRA, 14 of 24 in the control group) or non-surgical treatment was possible (second degree, type a, burns). The patients treated conservatively were kept within the study and irradiated till complete reepithelialization. The patients in the group with wIRA showed a markedly faster reduction of wound area: a median reduction of wound size of 50% was reached already after 7 days compared to 9 days in the control group, a median reduction of wound size of 90% was already achieved after 9 days compared to 13 days in the control group. In addition the group with wIRA showed superior results till 3 months after the burn in terms of the overall surgical assessment of the wound, cosmesis, and assessment of effects of irradiation compared to the control group.
In a prospective, randomized, controlled study with 12 volunteers at the University Medical Center Charité, Berlin, Germany, within each volunteer 4 experimental superficial wounds (5 mm diameter) as an acute wound model were generated by suction cup technique, removing the roof of the blister with a scalpel and a sterile forceps (day 1). 4 different treatments were used and investigated during 10 days: no therapy, only wIRA(+VIS) (approximately 75% wIRA, 25% VIS; 30 minutes irradiation once a day), only dexpanthenol (= D-panthenol) cream once a day, wIRA(+VIS) and dexpanthenol cream once a day. Healing of the small experimental wounds was from a clinical point of view excellent with all 4 treatments. Therefore there were only small differences between the treatments with slight advantages of the combination wIRA(+VIS) and dexpanthenol cream and of dexpanthenol cream alone concerning relative change of wound size and assessment of feeling of the wound area. However laser scanning microscopy with a scoring system revealed differences between the 4 treatments concerning the formation of the stratum corneum (from first layer of corneocytes to full formation) especially on the days 5-7: fastest formation of the stratum corneum was seen in wounds treated with wIRA(+VIS) and dexpanthenol cream, second was wIRA(+VIS) alone, third dexpanthenol cream alone and last were untreated wounds. Bacterial counts of the wounds (taken every 2 days) showed, that wIRA(+VIS) and the combination of wIRA(+VIS) with dexpanthenol cream were able to inhibit the colonisation with physiological skin flora up to day 5 when compared with the two other groups (untreated group and group with dexpanthenol cream alone). At any investigated time, the amount of colonisation under therapy with wIRA(+VIS) alone was lower (interpreted as more suppressed) compared with the group with wIRA(+VIS) and dexpanthenol cream.
During rehabilitation after hip and knee endoprosthetic operations the resorption of wound seromas and wound hematomas was both clinically and sonographically faster and pain was reduced by irradiation with wIRA(+VIS).
wIRA can be used successfully for persistent postoperative pain e.g. after thoracotomy.
As perspectives for wIRA it seems clinically prudent to use wIRA both pre- and postoperatively, e.g. in abdominal and thoracic operations. wIRA can be used preoperatively (e.g. during 1-2 weeks) to precondition donor and recipient sites of skin flaps, transplants or partial-thickness skin grafts, and postoperatively to improve wound healing and to decrease pain, inflammation and infections at all mentioned sites. wIRA can be used to support routine pre- or intraoperative antibiotic administration or it might even be discussed to replace this under certain conditions by wIRA.
PMCID: PMC2831241  PMID: 20204084
water-filtered infrared-A (wIRA); wound healing; acute wounds; prospective, randomized, controlled, double-blind studies; reduction of pain; problem wounds; wound infections; infection defense; wound exudation; inflammation; thermal and non-thermal effects; thermic and non-thermic effects; energy supply; oxygen supply; tissue oxygen partial pressure; tissue temperature; tissue blood flow; visual analog scales (VAS); quality of life
20.  Iliopsoas Bursa Injections Can be Beneficial for Pain after Total Hip Arthroplasty 
Impingement of the iliopsoas tendon is an uncommon cause of groin pain after total hip arthroplasty (THA). We asked whether selective steroid and anesthetic injections for iliopsoas tendonitis after THA would relieve pain and improve function. We retrospectively reviewed 27 patients with presumed iliopsoas tendinitis treated by fluoroscopically guided injections of the iliopsoas bursa. Pre- and immediately postinjection, questionnaires and telephone followup questionnaires were administered to determine patient outcomes. Four patients were lost to followup and we were unable to obtain information from relatives on an additional four; the questionnaire was administered to the remaining 19 patients, including six who subsequently had surgery at an average of 44.6 months (range, 25–68 months) after their first injection. The average modified Harris hip score in the 19 patients improved from 61 preinjection to 82 postinjection and the average pain improved from 6.4 preinjection to 2.9 postinjection, but eight patients (30%) required a second injection at an average of 8.2 months after the first injection. Ultimately, six patients (22%) had an additional surgical procedure to address the underlying cause of the iliopsoas irritation. Iliopsoas tendonitis is uncommon after THA but should be considered in the differential diagnosis of all patients who present with groin pain after THA. Selective steroid and anesthetic injections of the iliopsoas bursa give adequate pain relief in the majority of patients and should be considered part of the nonoperative treatment plan before surgical release of the iliopsoas tendon or component revision.
Level of Evidence: Level IV, therapeutic study. See Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11999-009-1141-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1007/s11999-009-1141-y
PMCID: PMC2807015  PMID: 19851816
21.  Mesenchymal Stem Cell Therapy for Nonhealing Cutaneous Wounds 
Plastic and reconstructive surgery  2010;125(2):510-516.
Summary
Chronic wounds remain a major challenge in modern medicine and represent a significant burden, affecting not only physical and mental health, but also productivity, health care expenditure, and long-term morbidity. Even under optimal conditions, the healing process leads to fibrosis or scar. One promising solution, cell therapy, involves the transplantation of progenitor/stem cells to patients through local or systemic delivery, and offers a novel approach to many chronic diseases, including nonhealing wounds. Mesenchymal stem cells are multipotent, adult progenitor cells of great interest because of their unique immunologic properties and regenerative potential. A variety of preclinical and clinical studies have shown that mesenchymal stem cells may have a useful role in wound-healing and tissue-engineering strategies and both aesthetic and reconstructive surgery. Recent advances in stem cell immunobiology can offer insight into the multiple mechanisms through which mesenchymal stem cells could affect underlying pathophysiologic processes associated with nonhealing mesenchymal stem cells. Critical evaluation of the current literature is necessary for understanding how mesenchymal stem cells could potentially revolutionize our approach to skin and soft-tissue defects and designing clinical trials to address their role in wound repair and regeneration.
doi:10.1097/PRS.0b013e3181c722bb
PMCID: PMC4076140  PMID: 20124836
22.  A Novel Tool for the Assessment of Pain: Validation in Low Back Pain 
PLoS Medicine  2009;6(4):e1000047.
Joachim Scholz and colleagues develop and validate an assessment tool that distinguishes between radicular and axial low back pain.
Background
Adequate pain assessment is critical for evaluating the efficacy of analgesic treatment in clinical practice and during the development of new therapies. Yet the currently used scores of global pain intensity fail to reflect the diversity of pain manifestations and the complexity of underlying biological mechanisms. We have developed a tool for a standardized assessment of pain-related symptoms and signs that differentiates pain phenotypes independent of etiology.
Methods and Findings
Using a structured interview (16 questions) and a standardized bedside examination (23 tests), we prospectively assessed symptoms and signs in 130 patients with peripheral neuropathic pain caused by diabetic polyneuropathy, postherpetic neuralgia, or radicular low back pain (LBP), and in 57 patients with non-neuropathic (axial) LBP. A hierarchical cluster analysis revealed distinct association patterns of symptoms and signs (pain subtypes) that characterized six subgroups of patients with neuropathic pain and two subgroups of patients with non-neuropathic pain. Using a classification tree analysis, we identified the most discriminatory assessment items for the identification of pain subtypes. We combined these six interview questions and ten physical tests in a pain assessment tool that we named Standardized Evaluation of Pain (StEP). We validated StEP for the distinction between radicular and axial LBP in an independent group of 137 patients. StEP identified patients with radicular pain with high sensitivity (92%; 95% confidence interval [CI] 83%–97%) and specificity (97%; 95% CI 89%–100%). The diagnostic accuracy of StEP exceeded that of a dedicated screening tool for neuropathic pain and spinal magnetic resonance imaging. In addition, we were able to reproduce subtypes of radicular and axial LBP, underscoring the utility of StEP for discerning distinct constellations of symptoms and signs.
Conclusions
We present a novel method of identifying pain subtypes that we believe reflect underlying pain mechanisms. We demonstrate that this new approach to pain assessment helps separate radicular from axial back pain. Beyond diagnostic utility, a standardized differentiation of pain subtypes that is independent of disease etiology may offer a unique opportunity to improve targeted analgesic treatment.
Editors' Summary
Background
Pain, although unpleasant, is essential for survival. Whenever the body is damaged, nerve cells detecting the injury send an electrical message via the spinal cord to the brain and, as a result, action is taken to prevent further damage. Usually pain is short-lived, but sometimes it continues for weeks, months, or years. Long-lasting (chronic) pain can be caused by an ongoing, often inflammatory condition (for example, arthritis) or by damage to the nervous system itself—experts call this “neuropathic” pain. Damage to the brain or spinal cord causes central neuropathic pain; damage to the nerves that convey information from distant parts of the body to the spinal cord causes peripheral neuropathic pain. One example of peripheral neuropathic pain is “radicular” low back pain (also called sciatica). This is pain that radiates from the back into the legs. By contrast, axial back pain (the most common type of low back pain) is confined to the lower back and is non-neuropathic.
Why Was This Study Done?
Chronic pain is very common—nearly 10% of American adults have frequent back pain, for example—and there are many treatments for it, including rest, regulated exercise (physical therapy), pain-killing drugs (analgesics), and surgery. However, the best treatment for any individual depends on the exact nature of their pain, so it is important to assess their pain carefully before starting treatment. This is usually done by scoring overall pain intensity, but this assessment does not reflect the characteristics of the pain (for example, whether it occurs spontaneously or in response to external stimuli) or the complex biological processes involved in pain generation. An assessment designed to take such factors into account might improve treatment outcomes and could be useful in the development of new therapies. In this study, the researchers develop and test a new, standardized tool for the assessment of chronic pain that, by examining many symptoms and signs, aims to distinguish between pain subtypes.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
One hundred thirty patients with several types of peripheral neuropathic pain and 57 patients with non-neuropathic (axial) low back pain completed a structured interview of 16 questions and a standardized bedside examination of 23 tests. Patients were asked, for example, to choose words that described their pain from a list provided by the researchers and to grade the intensity of particular aspects of their pain from zero (no pain) to ten (the maximum imaginable pain). Bedside tests included measurements of responses to light touch, pinprick, and vibration—chronic pain often alters responses to harmless stimuli. Using “hierarchical cluster analysis,” the researchers identified six subgroups of patients with neuropathic pain and two subgroups of patients with non-neuropathic pain based on the patterns of symptoms and signs revealed by the interviews and physical tests. They then used “classification tree analysis” to identify the six questions and ten physical tests that discriminated best between pain subtypes and combined these items into a tool for a Standardized Evaluation of Pain (StEP). Finally, the researchers asked whether StEP, which took 10–15 minutes, could identify patients with radicular back pain and discriminate them from those with axial back pain in an independent group of 137 patients with chronic low back pain. StEP, they report, accurately diagnosed these two conditions and was well accepted by the patients.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that a standardized assessment of pain-related signs and symptoms can provide a simple, quick diagnostic procedure that distinguishes between radicular (neuropathic) and axial (non-neuropathic) low back pain. This distinction is crucial because these types of back pain are best treated in different ways. In addition, the findings suggest that it might be possible to identify additional pain subtypes using StEP. Because these subtypes may represent conditions in which different pain mechanisms are acting, classifying patients in this way might eventually enable physicians to tailor treatments for chronic pain to the specific needs of individual patients rather than, as at present, largely guessing which of the available treatments is likely to work best.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000047.
This study is further discussed in a PLoS Medicine Perspective by Giorgio Cruccu and and Andrea Truini
The US National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke provides a primer on pain in English and Spanish
In its 2006 report on the health status of the US, the National Center for Health Statistics provides a special feature on the epidemiology of pain, including back pain
The Pain Treatment Topics Web site is a resource, sponsored partly by associations and manufacturers, that provides information on all aspects of pain and its treatment for health care professionals and their patients
Medline Plus provides a brief description of pain and of back pain and links to further information on both topics (in English and Spanish)
The MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia also has a page on low back pain (in English and Spanish)
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000047
PMCID: PMC2661253  PMID: 19360087
23.  THE FATE OF THE GIANT CELLS IN HEALING TUBERCULOUS TISSUE, AS OBSERVED IN A CASE OF HEALING TUBERCULOUS MENINGITIS 
From the foregoing description of the histological changes in the leptomeninx it is quite evident that we are dealing with a chronic, stationary, healing form of tuberculous inflammation. This statement is substantiated, in the first place, by the clinical history. The only reasonable interpretation of the symptoms would establish the duration of the process as four months. The imaginable contingency that there existed first a meningeal syphilitic lesion that was dispersed by the iodide of potassium only to be followed by a tuberculous infection is so remote and unlikely that it need not be discussed. At all events the tuberculous leptomeningitis, which presented a typical distribution, began insidiously, existed at times in a latent condition, and pursued a very anomalous course, marked by a relative mildness of all the symptoms, and thus it came about that when an apparent or real improvement followed the administration of iodide of potassium able observers were induced to make an erroneous diagnosis. Death occurred as a result of an intercurrent infection. The long duration of the process is also shown, anatomically, by the thick layer of firm, translucent and gelatinous material that matted together the structures at the base, and also by the evident adhesions between the pia and the brain. The histological examination furnishes proof positive of the correctness of the conclusion in regard to the peculiar character of this process because it shows: (1) That the tuberculous proliferation is uniform in development and has reached nearly the same stage of evolution throughout the entire extent of the leptomeninx involved; it is not a process that has advanced by exacerbations and irregular extensions; the lesions are, generally speaking, of nearly the same age everywhere and must have begun at about the same time. (2) That only a very limited degree of caseous degeneration is present, pointing to an early arrest of the activity of the tubercle bacillus or to a very decided diminution or attenuation of its virulence. (3) That the subendothelial intimal proliferations of epithelioid cells, so generally found in acute tuberculous leptomeningitis,* have in this case become more or less completely changed into distinct fibrous tissue in which but very slight, if any, direct evidence of its tuberculous origin can be found. It is only by recognizing that the chronic endarteritis is most marked in correspondence with the most advanced adventitial tuberculous changes, and by finding an imperfect, much altered giant cell in one district of intimal thickening, that we were able to establish the direct kinship of the endovascular changes with those of the pia in general. (4) That acute inflammatory changes, in the form of emigration of polymorphonuclear leucocytes and of fibrinous exudation, are entirely absent in all parts of the district involved. The presence of a turbid serous fluid is of course not at all inconsistent with the view that the anatomical changes are of long duration. (5) That the granulation tissue present is, in general, undergoing fibrillation and contains a rich supply of enabryonal capillary vessels as well as of larger blood-vessels of evidently new formation. The absence of any considerable extent of polymorphonuclear leucocytic infiltration in this tissue has already been referred to. The cells in the granulation tissue correspond to the cells of embryonal or formative connective tissue. Vacuolation is rarely present. (6) That the unusually large number of giant cells present are remarkably free from evidences of necrosis and degeneration of the character ordinarily observed in tuberculous proliferations, that they do not contain in demonstrable form tubercle bacilli, and that the majority of the giant cells seem to be separating into individual cells and smaller masses often with, but sometimes also without, evidences of nuclear disintegration. The possibility that these phenomena may signify fusion instead of the sundering of cells will be discussed below. For these reasons there can be no doubt that the general claim that we are dealing with an instance of chronic, healing tuberculous meningitis must be regarded as established beyond dispute. The growth of tubercle bacilli in the glycerine-agar tubes, inoculated with the fluid from the pial meshes, and the demonstration of tubercle bacilli, though in very small numbers, between the cells of the embryonal tissue, furnish the positive evidence that we are actually dealing with a tuberculous process due to living and not to dead bacilli. The degree of virulence of the cultures of tubercle bacilli was, unfortunately perhaps, not studied. The presence of living tubercle bacilli in a tissue free from active and acute changes characteristic of tuberculosis demonstrates that, whatever the actual degree of virulence of the bacilli may have been, the tissue in which they were found was at this time relatively immune from their action. The manner in which this immunity was produced, and in which the process of healing was initiated, need not be discussed at this time any further than to again direct attention to the fact that the bacilli lost their virulency as regards the cells in this leptomeninx before these cells underwent any marked degree of degeneration. The cells of the tuberculous proliferations survived the further action of the bacilli whose original effect it was to initiate cell accumulation or proliferation; the cells also retained sufficient vitality to develop, in some instances at any rate, into formative cells according as their origin would dictate, e. g. into fibroblasts. That fibroblasts are formed only by embryonal connective tissue cells, and not by wandering cells, such as the large mononuclear leucocytes, we are well aware, is possibly still a disputable assumption, and we do not consider it pertinent to discuss the question any further in connection with this study, but would only emphasize the point that some of the cells of tuberculous proliferations may, under favorable circumstances, become formative cells, and, furthermore, that the amount of formative tissue produced may be far in excess of what is actually needed for purposes of repair only. Surely the appearances here noted indicate that the bacillus of tuberculosis has the power to stimulate fixed cells to multiply, unless one assumes that all, or almost all, the formative cells here seen are derived from wandering cells attracted by the presence of the bacillus and its products. As to the ultimate fate of the formative and other cells in this healing tuberculous tissue no final statements can be made. It must be remembered that it is only one stage in the process of healing that is dealt with. The well marked evidences of fibrillation, the quite extensive formation of new vessels, the absence of evidences of degenerative changes in the uninuclear cells, all point to the production of new fibrous tissue as sure to occur, but it seems quite probable that occasional epithelioid cells may undergo or have undergone dropsical or other forms of degeneration, although it is certainly apparent that so far as the small cells are concerned the involution of the tuberculous tissue is not occurring through disintegration. Perhaps the most interesting feature in this case is the opportunity it affords to study the changes in the giant cells of healing, non-degenerated tuberculous tissue. In the first place, the large number of giant cells is quite remarkable. The general characters of the tissue in which they are found recall the fact that giant cells are regarded as quite constant elements in chronic mild tuberculosis; often the giant cells are the only cells that contain bacilli (Koch). In this instance the giant cells do not contain bacilli that are demonstrable by the usual methods; neither do they contain bodies that can be definitely interpreted as degenerate forms of bacilli such as those found by Metchnikoff, Stchastny, Weicker, and others, in the giant cells of Spermophilus guttatus, in avian and in human tuberculosis. Metchnikoff states, however, that he knows of the occurrence of such degenerate forms only in the Spermophilus guttatus under the circumstances mentioned, and in the rabbit and guinea-pig in mammalian tuberculosis, but not in man; consequently, the manner in which the giant cells rid themselves of the bacilli undoubtedly present in their interior at some time during their existence, must as yet remain without any explanation. In the description of the histological changes the various appearances presented by the giant cells are described somewhat minutely. The essential observations made concern, in my opinion, the further fate of giant cells which are still found to persist in healing nondegenerated tuberculous tissue. It was, I believe, quite conclusively shown that the consecutive changes appear to consist in the breaking up of the nuclei, the removal of the detritus by phagocytes, and the formation of a few apparently viable uninuclear cells in the case of more degenerated, exhausted giant cells, while other, and, as it would seem, better preserved or younger giant cells, separate into a number of individual, uninuclear cells with but little or no nuclear disintegration. Objection might be raised to this interpretation of the appearances in the giant cells. While no one could very well dispute the view that part of the giant cells are undergoing retrogressive and absorptive changes with the production of some viable cells, a question might well be raised concerning the nature of the process taking place in those giant cells that have been spoken of as splitting up or dividing into uninuclear cells and smaller multinucleated masses without much evidence of nuclear disintegration. It might be claimed that the process is one of fusion of many cells to form giant cells, and not one of division of fully formed giant cells into small cells. But a broad view of the processes described speaks against fusion. In the first place we are not dealing with a stage of tuberculous proliferation (Baumgarten), or cell accumulation (Metchnikoff), in which one would look for the production of giant cells, no matter which view concerning the histogenesis of tubercle be assumed as the correct one, because it has been demonstrated that, from whichever point of view the lesions are examined, the same positive conclusion that they are in the process of healing is reached; there is, therefore, no occasion for the formation of new giant cells in such wide-spread degree throughout the district involved. It might he claimed that the cells became arrested and, as it were, fixed in the act of fusion which was taking place in the early stage of the meningitis, but it would be difficult to understand the nature of the stimulus that could hold the cells together in such a peculiar manner for such a long time. It must be remembered that bacilli or bacillary detritus could not be found among the incomplete or in the complete giant cells. In the second place the difference between the cells that are undergoing disintegration and those regarded as dividing is essentially, to a certain extent at any rate, one of degree, because in the first instance there is not much, if any, doubt but that viable smaller cells are also formed, and in the second instance some, though often very slight, evidence of nuclear fragmentation is nearly always present; it would also be correct to infer that in advanced subdivision of a giant cell much, and perhaps all, of the nuclear detritus produced might have been removed up to the last trace; finally, the two extremes of these changes in the giant cells are connected by transition stages passing by gradation from the one to the other. Hence it is justifiable to conclude, for the time being, that in healing non-degenerated tuberculous tissue, the multinucleated giant cells may in part disintegrate and undergo absorption, in part form viable small cells; that both these changes may, and usually do, affect the same cell, but that in one class of cells—presumably the older or the more exhausted—the retrogressive process is predominant, while in a second class of cells—presumably the young and vigorous—the progressive changes are the more marked. In this connection it may be pointed out that while there cannot very well be any question but that we are dealing only with dividing and not coalescing cells, yet if this conclusion should be disputed and found incorrect, then the only remaining alternative would be to infer that this tissue furnished a unique and striking example of the formation of plasmodial masses by fusion in human tuberculosis, a conclusion to which many pathologists would refuse to subscribe, if for no other reason than because it is not in accordance with the almost universally accepted teachings of Baumgarten and Weigert in regard to the mode of formation of the giant cells in tuberculosis. Believing as I do that the giant cells under consideration are in the act of division and not at all of fusion, there remain to be discussed some of the histological and other features presented by the dividing cells. Many of the giant cells, perhaps the majority, contain larger and smaller vacuoles in the protoplasm. The exact significance of this vacuolation is not always clear. When the vacuolation accompanies an evident solution of the nucleus (karyolysis), there cannot be any doubt but that we are in the presence of a distinctly retrogressive process. Vacuoles are also most numerous in the giant cells that present other evidences of degeneration, such as coarseness of the granules in the protoplasm and extensive nuclear disintegration, but they occur as well around nuclei that stain deeply, around cells that seem to be separating from the giant cell, and even about nuclei that present mitoses. The formation of vacuoles seems to be responsible, to a certain extent at any rate, for the diminution in the volume of disintegrating and dividing giant cells, as shown by the clear spaces that form about them; these spaces are too large and occur too uniformly to be attributed solely to artificial shrinking produced by the hardening in alcohol. Further undoubted evidence of retrogression in certain giant cells is the occurrence of nuclear disintegration, or karyorhexis, which sets free larger and smaller chromatin masses that are recognized in the giant cell as well as in the interior of the phagocytes usually found around such cells. Almost all the polymorphonuclear leucocytes found in this tissue are met with around giant cells with broken-up nuclei. In many nuclei of disintegrating giant cells can be noted appearances that correspond well to certain stages in the complicated karyorhexis observed in anæmic necrosis by Schmaus and Albrecht; some of the nuclei with budding processes correspond particularly well with those in certain of their drawings; the interior of giant cells of tuberculous tissue may, it would seem, present conditions favorable to the development of this series of postnecrotic nuclear change. Vacuolation, karyolysis and karyorhexis are the essential steps that lead to destruction of the whole or parts of some of the giant cells; associated with these processes there is usually observed a splitting up of the body of the giant cell into irregular fragments with as well as without nuclei; and, as described, more or less phagocytosis of the resulting remnants of various kinds is seen. But evident degenerative and necrotic processes in a giant cell may be associated with progressive changes. While some nuclei undergo vacuolation or break up, others seem to become richer in chromatin and to stain more deeply at the same time that they seem to acquire cell bodies quite distinct from the protoplasm of the giant cells: this hyperchromatosis does not, therefore, seem to be a stage in karyorhexis. A very few but undoubted karyokinetic figures were found, together with evidences of division of the cell body formed in the giant cell protoplasm. Precisely similar changes are described by Klebs in healing pulmonary tuberculosis of the guinea-pig; the nuclei of the giant cells became rich in chromatin and karyokinetic figures occurred. Krückmann among others has found occasional mitoses in giant cells around foreign bodies, as well as elsewhere, but it would seem that such mitoses have always been interpreted as indicating the probable mode of formation of the giant cells rather than of their involution. The question of mitosis in existing multinucleated cells has recently been studied by Krompecher, who concludes that the individual nuclei of such cells may undoubtedly divide by mitosis, either simultaneously or at separate times. Division by amitosis can also occur, but mitosis is the only progressive form of division, amitosis being a retrogressive, disintegrating process that must be looked upon as an evidence of degeneration of the nucleus. Ziegler states that in division of giant cells whose nuclei have multiplied by mitosis it may happen that the separating cell remains enclosed in the protoplasm of the mother cell. A singular phase in the involution of the giant cells in this pia is to be found in the existence of progressive changes side by side with nuclear necrosis and with degeneration; this finding indicates that giant cells may contain many independent elements which, though apparently fused into one large cell, may preserve their individuality so that while some nuclei die, others proliferate and perhaps feed on the remnants of their dead brethren and form new, viable small cells. The nuclei in giant cells may be looked upon as representing independent centres, capable at times of existing even though the cell protoplasm is disintegrated. Many of the giant cells separate into individual cells, unaccompanied or unassociated with much evidence of necrosis. These cells may be regarded as the more vigorous forms. Here also are observed occasional mitoses—but on the whole extremely few—and very constantly an evident increase in the amount of chromatin in the nuclei of the new cells as compared with the amount ordinarily found in the nuclei of giant cells. These deductions concerning the persistence of the vitality of some of the nuclei, even in the presence of molecular and morphological changes in the cytoplasm and in other nuclei of the giant cell that lead to disintegration, are not entirely without the support of previous observations on cells, which, although made under different conditions, are nevertheless, it would seem, applicable to cells in general. Thus the brilliant investigations of Loeb upon the effects of various unfavorable surroundings, such as absence of oxygen or reduction of the amount of water, upon the cleavage of eggs of many kinds, show that the conditions which arrest development are qualitatively alike for nucleus and protoplasm, but quantitatively less for the protoplasm; when the irritability of the protoplasm is suspended the nucleus may segment without segmentation of the protoplasm, but upon re-establishment of favorable conditions the protoplasm may divide into about as many spheres as there are nuclei preformed—the nucleus persists, preserves the irritability of the cell and stimulates the protoplasm to segmentation. From the appearances of the giant cells here described it would seem, then, that some nuclei are able to maintain their vitality longer than others in the same cell, and under certain conditions to stimulate parts of the protoplasm to segment; in other cells all the nuclei have, as a rule, preserved their irritability. The groups of cells formed by the dividing of the giant cells can be traced by studying the process at the different stages in the different parts of the tissue. They assume an oval or spindle-shaped form, becoming more and more like the formative and endothelioid cells of young connective tissue, but their ultimate fate cannot be determined because it concerns essentially only one limited period in the involution of the tissue. It may be said with reasonable certainty, however, that the new cells do not form blood-vessels, but as regards their forming lymph-vessels nothing definite can be concluded. It would not be safe to draw any definite conclusions, from the appearances described, with regard to the origin and the mode of formation of the giant cells. The resulting small cells in general resemble very much endothelial and formative cells, but some of them are, at certain stages at any rate, not unlike large mononuclear leucocytes; their final fully developed or mature condition being unknown, no positive inference can be drawn as to their pre-giant-cell origin. The evidence points to the fact that the most probable origin of the giant cells, as indicated by their form and the apparent future career of their descendants, would be the fixed mesoblastic cells of the pia. In regard to the mode of formation of the giant cells it is quite clear that it must involve some process which is not incompatible with the viability of the small cells which may spring from the giant cells. Whether this would speak more in favor of formation by fusion than by karyokinesis of a single cell without division of the cell body cannot be well determined, and as long as authors are not agreed upon the question of the production of living, procreative cells by amitosis (direct segmentation, direct and indirect fragmentation) it would not be profitable to discuss the compatibility or incompatibility of the views of those investigators who trace the origin of giant cells to amitotic division, with the progressive changes that giant cells have been shown to be capable of. The fact that giant cells in tuberculous tissue, under certain conditions, undergo progressive changes and separate into small, living cells proves that they are not, as claimed by Baumgarten, Weigert and others, necrobiotic elements that are doomed to destruction from their very inception. On the other hand it lends more strength, if that were necessary, to the teleological view urged by Metchnikoff that they are living, defensive cells (whatever their origin may be), formed for the distinct purpose, like plasmodial masses in general, of isolating and removing foreign, harmful bodies, in this case the tubercle bacillus, and, having accomplished their object without being destroyed or exhausted, or the cause of their formation being removed or neutralized in some way, they, or their nuclei, may retain enough irritability to form a larger or smaller number of living, small, uninuclear cells.
PMCID: PMC2117963  PMID: 19866866
24.  A Paradigm of Fibroblast Activation and Dermal Wound Contraction to Guide the Development of Therapies for Chronic Wounds and Pathologic Scars 
Advances in Wound Care  2013;2(4):149-159.
Significance
Delayed wound healing and pathologic scarring are abnormal processes that can be thought of as occurring on a wound healing continuum, where insufficient wound contraction leads to nonhealing wounds, and overexuberant wound contraction leads to scarring. Chronic nonhealing wounds, including diabetic foot wounds, decubitus ulcers, and venous stasis ulcers, affect millions of people annually in the United States and costs billions of dollars. Similarly, pathologic scaring affects more than 40 million Americans annually and also costs billions of dollars.
Critical Issues
While there are multiple factors that contribute to chronic nonhealing wounds and pathologic scars, a derangement in wound contraction is common to both. In this article, we will present a paradigm of dermal wound contraction, derived from clinical observations and basic science evidence, which pertains to chronic nonhealing wounds and pathologic scars.
Recent Advances
We will review how select therapies currently under investigation and in development fit the paradigm.
Future Directions
The paradigm will facilitate translational research and enable the development of future innovative therapies.
doi:10.1089/wound.2012.0389
PMCID: PMC3840547  PMID: 24527338
25.  Wound Cleansing: Water or Saline? 
Journal of Athletic Training  2006;41(2):196-197.
Reference: Fernandez R, Griffiths R, Ussia C. Water for wound cleansing. Cochrane Database Syst Rev.20022CD003861. Available at: http://www.cochrane.org/reviews/en/ ab003861.html.
Clinical Question: Do rates of infection and healing differ depending on whether tap water or normal sterile saline is used to cleanse acute and chronic wounds?
Data Sources: Studies were identified by electronic searches of the following databases: Cochrane Wounds Group Specialized Register (June 2004), MEDLINE (1966–2004), CINAHL (1982–2004), Nursing Collection (1995–2000), Health STAR (1975–2000), EMBASE (1980–2004), and the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register (Issue 2, 2004). Additional searches were conducted with reference lists of included studies. Contact with investigators, company representatives, and content experts was initiated to identify additional eligible studies. The search terms included water, saline, solution or solutions, tap and water, cleansing, irrigation, wound or wounds, and healing.
Study Selection: Studies in any language were eligible for inclusion if they were randomized or quasirandomized controlled trials of human subjects that compared the use of water (tap, cooled, boiled, or distilled) with normal sterile saline or any other solution specifically for wound cleansing in subjects of all ages with any wound in any setting. Wound cleansing was defined as “the use of fluids to remove loosely adherent debris and necrotic tissue from the wound surface.”
Data Extraction: The characteristics of the subjects, interventions, follow-up, outcomes, and findings were extracted from each study by 2 authors and verified by the third. The primary outcome measure was objective and/or subjective wound infection. Secondary measures were proportion of healed wounds, rate of healing, pain and discomfort, and patient and staff satisfaction. All studies were graded independently by 2 authors and verified by a third author to determine methodologic quality. Where appropriate, the data were pooled and analyzed with a fixed-effects model. RevMan software (version 4.2; Cochrane Centre, Oxford, UK) was used for statistical analysis.
Main Results: Specific search criteria identified 24 studies for review, of which 9 met inclusion and exclusion criteria. Baseline data for each treatment group were provided in 6 studies. Details of randomization procedures were not fully explained in 2 studies, and the procedures in 6 were subject to selection bias. The sample sizes ranged between 35 and 770 patients, and patient ages ranged between 2 and 95 years. Surgical wounds were involved in 4 studies, lacerations in 3, and open fractures and chronic wounds in 1 each. Eight studies were conducted in hospital emergency departments and wards and 1 in the community. The medical or nursing staff performed the cleansing in 5 studies and the subjects themselves in 4, using irrigation and showering techniques. Primary and secondary outcome variables were recorded between 1 and 6 weeks postinjury. Wound infection was subjectively measured (redness, purulent discharge, pain, or smell) in all 9 studies, and 1 used blinded outcome assessment (cleansing solution used was unknown to assessors). Among patients with surgical wounds in 3 studies, no significant difference was noted in infection rates between cleansing (bathing or showering with and without shower gel) with tap water and no cleansing (relative risks [RR] = 1.06, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.07–16.50). In 1 study, tap water reduced the relative risk of infection by 45% compared with normal sterile saline for cleansing (irrigation) of acute soft tissue wounds that were sutured (RR = 0.55, 95% CI = 0.31–0.97). Two studies revealed that in children with acute wounds, cleansing (irrigation) with tap water or normal sterile saline demonstrated no significant differences in infection rates (RR = 1.07, 95% CI = 0.43–2.64). In another study, cleansing (irrigation) of nonsutured chronic wounds with tap water or normal sterile saline showed no significant differences in the rate of infection (RR = 0.16, 95% CI = 0.01–2.96). Water was also compared with isotonic saline for cleansing (irrigation) of open fractures. The author reported no significant difference in wound infection rates between distilled water and cooled, boiled water (RR = 1.69, 95% CI = 0.68–4.22), distilled water and isotonic saline (RR = 0.49, 95% CI = 0.19–1.26), or cooled, boiled water and isotonic saline (RR = 0.83, 95% CI = 0.37– 1.87). Additionally, no significant differences in the rate of infection were found when the distilled and cooled, boiled water results were pooled and compared with isotonic saline (RR = 0.65, 95% CI = 0.31–1.37). Among patients with postoperative wounds, 1 group found no significant differences in the infection and healing rates after cleansing (washing) with tap water or procaine spirit. An analysis of secondary outcomes revealed no significant differences in wound healing rates between cleansing (bathing or showering with and without shower gel) of surgical wounds with tap water and no cleansing (RR = 1.26, 95% CI = 0.18–8.66), nonsutured chronic wounds with tap water and normal sterile saline (irrigation) (RR = 0.57, 95% CI = 0.30–1.07), and postoperative wounds with tap water and procaine spirit (washing; neither RR nor CI was reported). Patients felt better when allowed to shower their wounds and preferred showering to irrigating their wounds from a bottle. Tap water ($1.16) was also shown in 1 study to be cost-effective compared with normal sterile saline ($1.43). Two groups reported that the quality of tap water met the national health requirements of the country in which the data were collected and that bacteria counts were low.
Conclusions: No differences were noted in the rates of infection and healing between the use of tap water and normal sterile saline in the cleansing of acute and chronic wounds. However, 1 group suggested that tap water was effective in reducing infection rates for cleansing of acute soft tissue wounds that were sutured. The methodologic quality of the studies should be considered in the interpretation of the findings. Additional randomized controlled trials are needed to determine the effectiveness of tap water used for wound cleansing among various populations and settings.
PMCID: PMC1472650

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