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No Healing in a Vacuum

17 June 2011 Deutsches Aerzteblatt International

Negative-pressure wound therapy probably does not promote healing. This is the conclusion of Frank Peinemann and Stefan Sauerland’s meta-analysis in the current edition of Deutsches Ärzteblatt International (Dtsch Arztebl Int 2011; 108[22]: 381-9).

In negative-pressure wound therapy (NPWT), wounds are covered with an airtight film and an adjustable negative pressure is applied using an electronically controlled pump. The negative pressure drains wound exudate and is thought to promote healing. This procedure is used in particular for chronic persistent wounds and complicated wounds.

The research included a total of 21 randomized controlled trials that reported on commercially available NPWT systems and systems not commercially available. The proportion of patients with complete wound closure was reported in only five trials, and only two showed a statistically significant effect in favor of NPWT. The results on complete wound closure are not homogenous, and as yet it cannot be concluded that NPWT is superior to the control treatment.

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