Study: Negative-pressure wound therapy doesn't always improve healing

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Negative-pressure wound therapy might not promote healing in chronic persistent and complicated wounds more than conventional wound treatment, according to a meta-analysis conducted by European researchers.

Negative-pressure wound therapy involves covering the wound with an airtight film. Then, an electric pump, which acts like a vacuum, is placed over the sealed wound in order to drain wound exudate from the wound.

Researchers Frank Peinemann and Stefan Sauerland analyzed 21 randomized trials that tested commercially available NPWT systems and non-commercially available systems. Most of the patients involved in the trails were men over age 50. The trials reveal that a proportion of patients with complete wound closure occurred in only five of the nine new trials, and only two trials reported a statistically significant results favoring NPWT.

Peinemann and Sauerland concluded that although NPWT was shown to have a positive effect in healing wounds, there was no clear-cut evidence that NPWT is better than conventional wound treatments. The researchers stressed the need for more randomized controlled trials. The study was published in the current issue of the German doctor's journal Deutsches Ärzteblatt International. The authors declared that no conflict of interest existed for them with the study. The study article was sponsored by the German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care.
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