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Ann Vasc Surg. 2003 Nov;17(6):645-9. Epub 2003 Oct 13.

A prospective randomized evaluation of negative-pressure wound dressings for diabetic foot wounds.

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Division of Vascular Surgery, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI 53226, USA.


Optimal treatment for large diabetic foot wounds is ill defined. The purpose of this study was to compare the rate of wound healing with the Vacuum Assisted Closure device trade mark (VAC) to conventional moist dressings in the treatment of large diabetic foot wounds. Diabetics with significant soft tissue defects of the foot were considered for enrollment. Patients were randomized to receive either moist gauze dressings or VAC treatments for 2 weeks, after which they were treated with the alternative dressing for an additional 2 weeks. Wounds were photographed weekly and wound dimensions calculated in a blinded fashion with spatial analysis software. Percent change in wound dimensions were calculated and compared for each weekly assessment and over 2 weeks of therapy with each dressing type. Ten patients were enrolled in the trial, but two were lost to follow-up and two were withdrawn. Complete data were available for analysis on seven wounds in six patients. Average length, width, and depth of the wounds at initiation of the trial was 7.7, 3.5, and 3.1 cm, respectively. Only the wound depth was significantly decreased over the weeks of the trial to 1.2 cm ( p < 0.05). VAC dressings decreased the wound volume and depth significantly more than moist gauze dressings (59% vs. 0% and 49% vs. 8%, respectively). VAC dressings were associated with a decrease in all wound dimensions while wound length and width increased with moist dressings. In summary, over the first several weeks of therapy, VAC dressings decreased wound depth and volume more effectively than moist gauze dressings. Negative-pressure wound treatment may accelerate closure of large foot wounds in the diabetic patient.

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