Researchers are unconvinced that negative-pressure wound therapy is better than conventional wound care in promoting healing, according to a meta-analysis in the current edition of the German Medical Association's science journal Deutsches Arzteblatt International.
In negative-pressure wound therapy, wounds are covered with an airtight film and an adjustable negative pressure is applied using an electronically controlled pump. The negative pressure drains wound exudate and is thought to promote healing.
“Although [negative-pressure wound therapy] may have a positive effect on wound healing, there is no proof that it is either superior or inferior to conventional wound treatment,” researchers wrote. “Further [randomized controlled trials] of good methodological quality are required.”
The research included a total of 21 randomized controlled trials that reported on commercially available negative-pressure wound therapy systems and systems not commercially available. The proportion of patients with complete wound closure was reported in only five trials, and only two showed a statistically significant effect in favor of negative-pressure therapy.
Full study: “Negative-Pressure Wound Therapy: Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials” (PDF format)