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J Plast Reconstr Aesthet Surg. 2011 Sep;64(9):1119-23. doi: 10.1016/j.bjps.2010.11.022. Epub 2011 Jan 22.

Vacuum-assisted closure therapy for patients with infected sternal wounds: a meta-analysis of current evidence.

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Department of Public Health, Università Cattolica Sacro Cuore, Roma, Italy.


Acute and chronic wound infections are the main reasons for the observed increase in mortality rate and represent a significant risk factor in hospitalisation. From the patient's perspective, wound therapy is an uncomfortable, painful and long-term treatment. Modern sternal-wound-treatment systems would be expected to shorten wound healing and hospital stay periods. Vacuum-assisted closure (VAC) therapy is a system that promotes wound healing through the application of negative pressure by controlled suction to the wound surface. The application of controlled levels of negative pressure accelerates healing in many types of wounds. There are a number of scientific publications that have used meta-analysis to compare VAC and traditional therapy, considering changes in wound size. This article surveys the research literature focussing on the management of wound infections. The objective of this study is to assess the impact of VAC compared with conventional therapy on length of stay (LOS) and mortality. Six articles were selected that included a total of 321 patients (169 for VAC therapy and 152 for conventional therapy). The meta-analysis showed that VAC therapy resulted in a decrease of 7.18 days in hospital LOS (confidence interval (CI) 95%: 10.82, 3.54), with no significant impact on mortality. Our data provide robust evidence of the effectiveness of VAC therapy.

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