Background: Wound exudate contains bacteria, matrix metalloproteases, and other related biofilm material.1 The use of wound dressing technology to remove and sequester these materials are thought to improve wound outcomes. Although there is increased use of superabsorbent polymer (SAP) dressings to control exudate and reduce dressing changes, most bacterial sequestration data remains in vitro1,2 or focuses on in vitro dressing failure and strikethrough as surrogates for bacterial contamination of the wound or patient environment.3 It is unclear if SAP dressings can demonstrate wound surface bacterial reduction or and environmental sequestration in the real-world setting.
Purpose: To evaluate the impact of a superabsorbent dressing* on bacterial sequestration by performing real-time visualization of bacterial fluorescence (BF) of the wound bed prior to and after removal of the SAP. Additionally, bacterial transfer to the environment via leakage or strikethrough was assessed via BF.
Outcome: The SAP dressings were found to uptake and sequester exudate containing fluorescing bacteria with positive impacts on the wound bed in ten highly exudative wounds. The SAP did not demonstrate leakage or strikethrough that would indicate bacterial transfer returning to the wound, its surrounding skin or into the patient’s environment.
Conclusion: SAP dressings can improve the wound bed environment by impounding exudate including fluorescing bacteria that can be impede wound improvement.
1. Westgate S. and Cutting K. Using hydration response technology dressings in bacteria management. Wounds UK. 2012;8(3):68-73.
2. Lovett J, Jackson S, Stephenson C. A Comparison of Bacterial Sequestration in Two Superabsorbent Dressings. Poster presented at: Wounds UK Annual Conference; November 14-16, 2016; Harrogate, UK.
3. Browning P, White RJ, Rowell, T. Comparative evaluation of the functional properties of superabsorbent dressings and their effect on exudate management. Journal of Wound Care. 2016;25(8): 452-62. doi: 10.12968/jowc.2016.25.8.452.
*KERRAMAX CARE™ Border Dressing; Systagenix Wound Management, Gatwick, UK