A new study by UK researchers found electrical stimulation to be effective in healing wounds faster and preventing them from becoming chronic.
Hard-to-heal wounds are a clinical challenge for physicians across the world. When
wounds fail to heal, they become chronic and remain open for longer than six weeks.
It is very important to address chronic wounds to ensure quality wound care.
Researchers from the University of Manchester found that electrical stimulation (ES)
treatment is very effective to expedite the healing process and prevent chronic
wound formation. Angiogenesis or the formation of new capillaries from pre-existing
blood vessels is critical for the wound healing process. Insufficient angiogenesis lead
to impaired wound healing and chronic wound formation. This new research found
that treatment with ES resulted in increased angiogenesis that facilitated wound
The researchers carried out a unique human volunteer study of skin wound healing in
40 individuals. Harmless wounds of half-centimeter were created on each upper arm
of the volunteers. While one wound was left for normal healing, the other one was
treated with electrical pulses over a period of two weeks. These pulses stimulated
angiogenesis and organized blood vessel formation. ES treatment resulted in a
reduction in wound volume, diameter and surface area and an increase in blood flow
to the damaged area to accelerate acute cutaneous wound healing. The blood flow
increased significantly on days 10 and 14 following the application of electrical pulses
while these pulses significantly up-regulated angiogenesis and down-regulated
inflammation on day 14.
According to the University press release, the researchers are to work with a leading
bioelectronics company to develop and evaluate devices and dressings that use
electrical stimulation techniques to stimulate the body’s nervous system to generate
nerve impulses to the skin repair site. The principal investigator of the study says the
electrical stimulation technology has the potential to be applied to any situation
where faster healing is mostly desirable such as after the surgical wounds, accidental
or military trauma and in sport injuries. He also added that with this technology,
wound dressings will have a significant role in healing wounds and getting patients
back to health as quickly as possible.
Accurate Wound Documentation Critical for Faster Healing
If you really want to benefit from the new technology and heal wounds faster,
accurate wound documentation is very critical.
Holistic assessment of the patient with wounds is important for the wound
care process since a number of local and
systemic factors can delay or impair
healing such as malnutrition, medication,
obesity, psychological stress and so on.
A complete documentation of patient
history and other complications let
physicians keep tabs on these factors
and perform the assessment more
Physicians also need to consider three phases of wound healing –
complications and ensure proper healing. Documentation of wound
healing status can help physicians do this job more effectively.
Accurate wound assessment documentation is also very important for an
effective treatment plan – application of fluid for wound cleansing, selecting
the most appropriate type of dressing and management of complications.
When it comes to paper-based documents or general EMR, there is a huge amount of
patient data and it will take considerable time for both physicians and nurses to filter
out wound data they urgently need. This will cause delay in determining the
appropriate treatment plan and eventually impair wound healing. WoundEMR
supports wound-specific templates so that wound care physicians and nurses can
quickly enter and retrieve their data. This will speed up their job and finally result in
better provision of care and better wound healing. Wound EMR supported with an
interface for physicians and nurses can further improve the speed of data exchange.