Send to

Choose Destination
Assist Technol. 2000;12(1):50-66.

Electrical stimulation for pressure sore prevention and wound healing.

Author information

Case Western Reserve University, MetroHealth Medical Center, Louis Stokes Cleveland DVA Medical Center, Ohio, USA.


This paper reviews applications of therapeutic electrical stimulation (ES) specific to wound healing and pressure sore prevention. The application of ES for wound healing has been found to increase the rate of healing by more than 50%. Furthermore, the total number of wounds healed is also increased. However, optimal delivery techniques for ES therapy have not been established to date. A study of stimulation current effects on wound healing in a pig model has shown that direct current (DC) stimulation is most effective in wound area reduction and alternating current (AC) stimulation for wound volume reduction at current densities of 127 microA/cm2 and 1,125 microA/cm2, respectively. Preliminary studies have been carried out at two research centers to assess the role of ES in pressure sore prevention. Surface stimulation studies have shown that ES can produce positive short-term changes in tissue health variables such as regional blood flow and pressure distribution. The use of an implanted stimulation system consisting of intramuscular electrodes with percutaneous leads has been found to produce additional long-term changes. Specifically, gluteal muscle thickness increased by 50% with regular long-term ES application concurrent with a 20% decrease in regional interface pressures and increased tissue oxygen levels. These findings indicate that an implantable ES system may have great potential for pressure sore prevention, particularly for individuals who lack sensation or who are physically unable to perform regular independent pressure relief.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Taylor & Francis
Loading ...
Support Center