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Biomaterials. 1996 Jul;17(14):1373-7.

Water vapour transmission rates in burns and chronic leg ulcers: influence of wound dressings and comparison with in vitro evaluation.

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Bioengineering Unit, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK.


One of the main functions of wound dressings is to control water vapour transmission rate (WVTR) from wounded skin. In this paper, the influence of hydrocolloid, knitted viscose and gauze dressings was evaluated through in vivo measurement of WVTR in burns and chronic leg ulcers utilizing an evaporimeter. The results suggest that the evaporative water vapour loss from exposed skin wounds depends mainly on the wound depth, and that chronic leg ulcers have the same level of the WVTR as full thickness burns. Compared with the knitted viscose and gauze dressings, hydrocolloid dressing has a greater effect on reducing evaporative water loss, with WVTR being 20-30% of that of exposed wounds under the conditions used in this study. This result is in agreement with that obtained in an in vitro evaluation.

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