• A prospective, randomized, controlled trial of negative-pressure wound therapy use in conflict-related extremity wounds

      Alga, Andreas; Bashaireh, Khaldoon; Wong, Sidney; Lundgren, Kalle; von Schreeb, Johan; MSF-OCA (2018-07)
      Extremity wounds and fractures constitute the majority of conflict-related traumatic injuries, both for civilians (1) and combatants (2). Conflict-related injuries often result in soft and boney tissue being contaminated with foreign material, generally leading to secondary infection (3,4). Negative-pressure wound therapy (NPWT) is widely used in the treatment of wounds and is considered to promote wound healing and prevent infectious complications. The technique involves the application of a wound dressing through which a negative pressure is applied. Any wound and tissue fluid is drawn away from the area and collected into a canister. Due to a plastic film overlaying the wound the risk of wound contamination is reduced. NPWT is supported for use in a range of surgical applications, including after or in between debridements as a bridge to definite closure of soft tissue wounds (5). The technique has previously been used in the treatment of acute conflict-related wounds with satisfactory results (6–8). Cochrane reviews of NPWT for the treatment of chronic wounds (9) and surgical wounds (10) were inconclusive due to the lack of suitably powered, high-quality trials. A recent systematic review of randomized, controlled trials (RCTs) of NPWT for the treatment of acute and chronic wounds concluded there is a lack of evidence and that good RCTs are needed (11). For the use in limb trauma, NPWT is considered suitable for complex soft tissue injuries (12). NPWT appears to be an effective and safe adjunctive treatment of high-energy combat wounds but existing results are retrospective and lack follow-up (13). The support of RCTs is needed to establish best treatment strategies. Summary of potential risks and benefits Both treatment methods (NPWT and conventional dressings) are well established and used in Jordan for the treatment of acute and chronic wounds. As neither of the two treatment modalities are known to be better in terms of outcome neither patient group may be regarded as receiving preferential treatment. NPWT is generally considered a safe treatment method. Potential benefits are shortened healing time and fewer infectious complications. Potential risks are pain, mainly associated with dressing changes (14) and bleeding, predominantly minor bleeding from granulation tissue (15). Conventional wound dressing has the potential benefit of being a safe treatment method used for many years. Since this method permits air into the wound there is a potential risk of contamination and the development of wound infection. Objectives We aim to evaluate the efficacy and safety of NPWT in the treatment of traumatic extremity wounds in a context associated with a high level of contamination and infection.