Do you recommend Negative Pressure Wound Therapies?

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Susan Wickard, RN, BSN, CWCN, CWS, CLNC
Susan Wickard, RN, BSN, CWCN, CWS, CLNC
Q: Is Negative Pressure Wound Therapy something we need to be using?

A: If you do not currently use Negative Pressure Wound Therapy (NPWT) you may want to investigate and consider this excellent option. 

NPWT has demonstrated the ability to do a good job speeding wound healing. This is accomplished by numerous mechanisms of action, including: removing third space edema and wound exudate, aiding in wound contraction, promoting angiogenesis and reducing bacterial bioburden.

By the use of a mechanical unit attached to a dressing, NPWT applies subatmospheric (negative) pressure through suction to a wound bed. The components of the system include a suction source (pump), a fluid collection container, a suction catheter, a wound filler dressing, and a transparent cover dressing. There are numerous companies that offer NPWT with different types of pumps, collection containers and wound filler dressings.

NPWT is indicated for many types of wounds. Chronic wounds and acute wounds where conventional therapies have failed, Stage III and Stage IV pressure ulcers, diabetic wounds, traumatic wounds, and dehisced surgical wounds are all good candidates for use of NPWT.

There are several contraindications and precautions associated with NPWT. Necrotic tissue, untreated osteomyelitis, and exposed blood vessels are several. As precautions and contraindications can vary, please refer to manufacturer's recommendations.

Many companies that offer NPWT therapy exhibit at trade shows, especially the national American Health Care Association and LeadingAge conferences this month. These provide a great opportunity to talk with representatives and get first-hand knowledge to understand how to incorporate negative pressure into your treatment plans.
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