diabetic foot ulcer

Treating diabetic foot ulcers with fish skin grafts healed “significantly more” wounds and saved nearly $3,000 per patient versus a more traditional collagen wrap, found a new study of more than 100 patients.

Omega-3-rich fish skin grafts are derived from North Atlantic cod in a process that preserves a chemical composition that closely resembles human skin. Scientists have shown they promote efficient growth of skin cells and capillaries and have anti-inflammatory properties.

In this study, clinicians from eight US hospital systems and wound clinics sought to better understand whether fish skin grafts led to more wound closures than the clinically accepted practice of applying collagen alginate therapy to nonresponsive diabetic foot ulcers. They also conducted a cost analysis to highlight immediate and long-term economic advantages of using fish skin.

Just under 57% of the DFUs treated with fish skin achieved closure versus about 31% of those treated with collagen, and there was an annual cost savings of $2,818 compared to collagen treatment.

The full study, which highlighted higher cost savings when factoring in non-healed wounds, was published in the April issue of Wounds.