The Sorptivity and Durability of Gelling Fibre Dressings Tested in a Simulated Sacral Pressure Ulcer System
Wound dressing performances are affected by the exudate viscosity and resistance to exudate flow due to gravity, which relate to the body position. Dressings are further subjected to bodyweight loads and to pulling forces applied during removal. Here we focused on two dressing properties that have never been addressed in the literature: (i) Sorptivity - the ability of dressings to transfer excessive exudate away from the wound-bed by capillary action and (ii) Durability – the capacity of dressings to not disintegrate in the wound over a period of use or during removal. Both properties are critically important for avoiding maceration and inflammatory foreign-body reactions, respectively, but require development of new laboratory tests for their measurement. A computer-controlled phantom of an exuding sacral pressure ulcer has therefore been developed and employed to compare the performances of Exufiber® (Mölnlycke Health Care) versus an alternative market leading dressing. Sorptivity was determined using weight tests of dressings post 5 or 15 hours of simulated use. Durability was measured through tensile tests of the used dressings. For a supine configuration, the Exufiber® dressing demonstrated statistically significantly, ~3-times greater sorptivity (i.e. more fluid transfer to the secondary dressing) than the other product. The Exufiber® dressing was also able to withstand ~5-times greater tensile energy before failure occurred. This work paves the way for quantitative and standardised testing of wound dressings in all aspects of exudate management. The reported tests are versatile and adequate for testing different dressing combinations or how dressings interact with negative pressure wound therapy.
Disclosure: This work was supported by an educational grant from Mölnlycke Health Care (Gothenburg, Sweden).