Wound care meta-review draws firm conclusions from Cochrane published studies

 

London, UK (July 9, 2012) – Robust evidence exists for some wound care interventions, but there are still gaps in current knowledge requiring international consensus and further high-level clinical evidence, according to a paper published online by BJS, the British Journal of Surgery.

 

Researchers analysed the findings of 44 Cochrane Systematic Reviews (CSRs) published by the Cochrane Wounds and Peripheral Vascular Disease Groups up to June 2011. The reviews covered CSRs on acute wounds and chronic wounds such as venous, pressure, diabetic and arterial ulcers.

 

This enabled them to identify a number of findings that provide strong clinical evidence for treating specific wound issues.

 

"Acute and chronic wounds pose a substantial problem in different healthcare settings including emergency departments, nursing homes, home care and family doctor practices" says co-author Dr Dirk Ubbink, from the Academic Medical Centre in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

 

"Because wounds have a considerable impact on patient health, death, daily functioning and quality of life, they deserve high-quality local and systemic treatment.

 

"Ideally wound treatment decisions should be based on the best available evidence, integrated with patients’ concerns and priorities and fine-tuned by the local resources and skills. In reality, however, treatment decisions are generally based on the personal opinions, experiences and preferences of healthcare professionals, which can vary widely. This is partly due to the overwhelming amount of literature available, which often shows conflicting results.

 

"Our meta-review of the CSRs aims to help clinicians make evidence-based decisions by analysing studies of both local and systemic open wound care."

 

The meta-review covered 13 CSRs on venous ulcers, 12 on acute wounds, seven on pressure ulcers, six on diabetic ulcers, five on arterial ulcers and five on miscellaneous chronic wounds.

 

Findings were placed into five categories, based on strong evidence of effect/no effect, limited evidence of effect/no effect and no evidence either way.

 

Strong findings included:

 

Acute wounds

 

  • Using antibiotics to prevent infections after dog bites is ineffective unless the bites are on the hands.
  • Systemic treatment with therapeutic touch does not have any additional effect on wound healing compared to placebo or non-treatment after minor surgery.
  • Cleansing pin site wounds using saline, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide or antibacterial soap to prevent infections is no more effective than no cleansing.
  • Topical honey reduces wound healing time when compared to film or gauze-based dressings for burns.
  • Silver sulfadiazine should not be used for burns as trials show this can delay wound healing and increase pain and infection rates.
  • Drinking quality tap water is better for cleansing lacerations and acute soft tissue wounds than sterile saline solutions.

 

Chronic wounds

 

  • Systemic treatment of venous ulcers with pentoxyfylline increases complete wound healing and compression therapy, using high compression, multi-component systems or elastic bandages, is most effective.
  • Using hyperbaric oxygen therapy decreases major amputations in diabetic ulcers and local hydrogels should be used after debridement to promote wound healing.
  • Systemic prostanoids should be used to relieve rest pain and improve ulcer healing in patients with critical leg ischaemia and spinal cord stimulation improves limb salvage.
  • Using high-specification foam mattresses and low air loss mattresses can prevent pressure ulcers on the ward and pressure-relieving overlays are recommended on operation tables. Using local therapeutic ultrasound is not recommended for healing pressure ulcers.

 

"Our meta-review drew 33 conclusions with strong evidence and 18 conclusions with fairly strong evidence from the CSRs we studied" says lead author Dr Fleur Brölmann. "Evidence was not available or insufficient in the remaining 58."

 

 

The paper has been published online early ahead of print publication in the September issue of BJS. It can be viewed free at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/bjs.8810/full  

 

A podcast discussion featuring the author and other clinicians can be found at http://www.yada-yada.co.uk/Blackwell/BJS/BJS_wound_dressing.mp3

 

 

Note to editors

 

  • Evidence-based decisions for local and systemic wound care. Brölmann et al. BJS. Published online early ahead of print publication in the September issue. (July 2012). DOI: 10.1002/bjs.8810

 

With an impact factor of 4.444, BJS is the premier surgical journal in Europe and one of the top six surgical periodicals in the world. Its international readership is reflected in the prestigious international Editorial Board, supported by a panel of over 1200 reviewers worldwide. BJS features the very best in clinical and laboratory-based research on all aspects of general surgery and related topics. Developing areas such as minimally invasive therapy and interventional radiology are strongly represented. http://wileyonlinelibrary.com/journal/BJS

 

Wiley-Blackwell is the international scientific, technical, medical, and scholarly publishing business of John Wiley & Sons, with strengths in every major academic and professional field and partnerships with many of the world’s leading societies. Wiley-Blackwell publishes nearly 1,500 peer-reviewed journals and 1,500+ new books annually in print and online, as well as databases, major reference works and laboratory protocols. For more information, please visit http://www.wileyblackwell.com or our new online platform, Wiley Online Library (http://www.wileyonlinelibrary.com), one of the world’s most extensive multidisciplinary collections of online resources, covering life, health, social and physical sciences, and humanities.

 

Cochrane Reviews are systematic reviews of primary research in human health care and health policy, and are internationally recognised as the highest standard in evidence-based health care. Published in The Cochrane Library, they investigate the effects of interventions for prevention, treatment and rehabilitation. They also assess the accuracy of a diagnostic test for a given condition in a specific patient group and setting.

 


 

British Journal of Surgery, Wiley, 09.07.2012 (tB).

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