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World J Surg. 2012 Sep;36(9):2021-7. doi: 10.1007/s00268-012-1599-8.

Does evidence permeate all surgical areas equally? Publication trends in wound care compared to breast cancer care: a longitudinal trend analysis.

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Departments of Quality Assurance & Process Innovation, Academic Medical Center, Room A3-503, Meibergdreef 9, P.O Box 22700, 1100 DE Amsterdam, The Netherlands.



Evidence-based decision making has permeated the daily practice of healthcare professionals. However, in wound care this seems more difficult than in other medical areas, such as breast cancer, which has a similar incidence, variety of etiologies, financial burden, and diversity of treatment options. This incongruence could be due to a lack in quantity and quality of available evidence. We therefore compared worldwide publication trends to answer whether research in wound care lags behind that in breast cancer.


In order to assess the trends in quantity and methodological quality of publications as to wound care and breast cancer treatments, we examined relevant publications over the last five decades. Publications in MEDLINE were classified into seven study design categories: (1) guidelines, (2) systematic reviews (SR), (3) randomized (RCT), and controlled clinical trials (CCT), (4) cohort studies, (5) case-control studies, (6) case series and case reports, and (7) other publications.


We found a 30-fold rise in publications on wound care, versus a 70-fold increase in those on breast cancer. High-quality study designs like SR, RCT, or CCT were less frequent in wound care (difference 1.9, 95 % CI 1.8-2.0 %) as were guidelines; 76 on wound care versus 231 for breast cancer.


Publications on wound care fall behind in quantity and quality as compared to breast cancer. Nevertheless, SR, RCT, and CCT in wound care are becoming more numerous. These high-quality study designs could motivate clinicians to make evidence-based decisions and researchers to perform proper research in wound care.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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