Negative pressure wound therapy may improve healing and care for wounds infected with Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, a new study has found.

S. aureus, or staph, is one of the most prevalent pathogens seen in wound infections and biofilms. Previous research has shown NPWT to aid in wound healing and avoidance of biofilm-associated infections, but little was known about NPWT’s ability to prevent biofilms altogether. 

A team of researchers from Nankai University Medical College and Chinese PLA General Hospital applied continuous NPWT to rabbits with staph-infected wounds within six hours of the wounds becoming infected. NPWT dressings were checked daily and changed every two days.

The early application of NPWT was found to significantly reduce the wound biofilms and S. aureus bacterial burden over the 13-day study period. The wounds treated with NPWT also had a higher rate of wound closure, and increased amounts of new epithelial and granulation tissue.

“NPWT leads to an essentially different microenvironment for wound healing, characterized by hypoxia and microstress,” the study’s authors wrote.