Researchers identify effective, cost-effective treatments for complex wounds

Researchers at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto have identified the most effective and cost-effective methods of the treatment of complex wounds, according to recently published research.

Andrea Tricco, PhD, scientist at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute and colleagues examined 99 systemic reviews of wound care treatments and found ultrasound and hydrogel dressings were effective for diabetic leg or foot ulcers, while hydrocolloid dressings, electrotherapy, air-fluidized beds and alternate foam mattresses were effective for pressure ulcers.

Andrea Tricco


Additional research explored 59 cost-effectiveness analyses to identify high quality interventions. They found that cadexomer iodine ointment, filgrastim, intensified treatment, staged management diabetes foot program, ertapenem, ampicillin or sulbactam skin replacement, promogran dressing and becaplermin gel were also effective for diabetic ulcers.

“There are numerous treatments available but only a few are consistently effective or cost-effective when we looked at all the high-quality existing literature,” Tricco, the lead author of the study, stated in a press release. “Clinicians, patients [and] decision makers can use our results as a guide toward effective treatment, [and] to maximize the use of clinically effective and resource-efficient interventions.”

Complex wounds resulting from diabetes, ulcers and surgical complications are a significant burden on the economy, costing the North American health care system nearly $10 billion a year, according to the study.


Tricco AC. BMC Med. 2015;

Disclosure: The authors report the research was funded by the Toronto Central Local Health Integrated Network.

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