Bacteria typically found in the gastrointestinal system, such as E.Coli and Bacteroides species, were found in war wounds that healed successfully, according to a recent study.

Investigators at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California looked at 124 samples from 61 wounds in 44 patients injured in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. The researchers used a lab-created microbial detection microarray that contains DNA probes capable of detecting any microorganisms that have previously been sequenced.

Studying different microorganisms associated with successful or unsuccessful healing may provide guidance in medical treatment, says Nicholas Be, Ph.D., Lawrence researcher. Unlike the gastrointestinal bacteria, Pseudomonas species and Acinetobacter baumannii were observed in wounds that failed to heal. 

While war wounds differ from civilian wounds, better culturing has implications for long-term care residents, as it could decrease the length of a hospital stay. Modern protocols allow assessment of microbial flora unique to each wound, the authors said. 

The article was scheduled for July’s Journal of Clinical Microbiology.