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J Wound Care. 2010 May;19(5):208, 210-2, 214-5.

Effect of activated charcoal dressings on healing outcomes of chronic wounds.

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Vertical, Paris, France.



To compare the ability of activated charcoal dressings with that of a hydrocolloid dressing to reduce the wound area of chronic wounds.


Two separate randomised controlled trials (RCTs) were undertaken; both used the same hydrocolloid as the control. One RCT compared Actisorb (without silver) with the control on chronic pressure ulcers and the other RCT compared Actisorb Silver 220 with the control on chronic venous leg ulcers. Patients were followed for four weeks. Baseline patient demographic and wound characteristics were comparable between the treatment and control groups. Wounds were assessed at weekly intervals. Ulcers were photographed and then traced by an experienced, independent investigator. Both the reduction in ulcer area and the percentage reduction were calculated.


Sixty patients were enrolled into each study, although data for one patient were not available in the pressure ulcer study. There were differences in results at week 1 in favour of the treatment group in both studies, although the results for the two groups in each study were comparable at week 4. Activated charcoal dressing was better tolerated than the control.


These clinical data indicate the potential usefulness of using activated charcoal impregnated with silver in the management of chronic wounds, even at the debridement stage. This dressing may help remove fluids and toxins that impair the healing process.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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