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Orthopedics. 2011 Jul 7;34(7):e256-60. doi: 10.3928/01477447-20110526-15.

Use of vacuum-assisted closure in pediatric open fractures with a focus on the rate of infection.

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Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Wake Forest Baptist Health, Winston Salem, North Carolina, USA.


The use of the vacuum-assisted closure device (VAC; KCI, San Antonio, Texas) has given the orthopedist a new tool for the successful management of severe traumatic wounds and open fractures. While the VAC's role in the adult population is proving itself as an improved therapy compared to "traditional wound care," it's role within pediatric orthopedics remains less well defined. Questions remain whether VAC therapy provides benefit regarding decreased infection rates as well as decreased need for extensive soft tissue coverage procedures. A review was therefore performed of a pediatric level I trauma center's experience using the VAC therapy for pediatric open fractures with a focus on the rate of superficial, deep, and chronic infection. A retrospective chart review spanning 4.5 years of all pediatric patients younger than 18 years with an open fracture initially treated with VAC therapy was conducted at a level I pediatric trauma center. This yielded 28 patients with 37 open fractures aged 2 to 17 years who were initially treated with wound VAC therapy. Subsequent chart review of these patients was performed examining in-hospital records, operative notes, and clinical follow-up visits for documented cases of superficial, deep, or chronic infection. Of 37 open pediatric fractures treated with a wound VAC, there were no cases of superficial infection and 2 cases of deep infection for an overall infection rate of 5%. Both infections resolved with surgical intervention and antibiotics without chronic infection development. When compared with historical controls, the use of VAC therapy for pediatric open fractures appears to be an equally safe and effective modality to help reduce infection in pediatric open fractures and should be considered a valuable tool in treating these injuries.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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