Antimicrobial Stewardship

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Bioburden: Bioburden is the number of microorganisms in a wound, and a high bioburden can cause delayed wound healing.

Biofilm: Biofilms are usually composed of mixed strains of bacteria, fungi, yeasts, algae, microbes, and other cellular debris that adhere to the wound surface.

Epibole: Epibole refers to rolled or curled-under closed wound edges. These rolled edges are thickened epidermis that may be callused, dry, scaly, and/or hyperkeratotic. When epibole is present in a wound, it signals to the body that the wound has healed, even though the wound remains open. Epibole must be resolved to allow the wound to close.

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Silver Nitrate Sticks

By the WoundSource Editors

Silver nitrate is a natural, inorganic chemical compound with antimicrobial properties that has been used in medical applications since the 13th century. It is used as a cauterizing agent and is available as a solution or an applicator stick. The applicator sticks, known as silver nitrate sticks or caustic pencils, contain silver nitrate and potassium nitrate. There are certain brands of silver nitrate sticks that can be bent or shaped to increase ease of access within a target area. The silver nitrate stick is activated by contact with moisture. When applied to wounds, silver nitrate sticks deliver free silver ions to the tissue that form an eschar as they bind to tissue and obstruct vessels.

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By the WoundSource Editors

Venous ulcers are known to be complex and costly. There is an array of evidence-based treatment options available to help formulate a comprehensive treatment plan toward wound closure. Health care professionals should utilize treatment options while encompassing a holistic approach to venous ulcer management. Involving the patient and/or caregiver in developing a treatment plan will increase the chances of successful wound healing outcomes. Wound closure is the primary goal of a treatment plan; however, preventing recurrence and infection should be considered just as important.

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Antimicrobial Stewardship Programs

By the WoundSource Editors

Antimicrobial resistance is one of the greatest health threats of the 21st century. The current number of deaths attributed to drug-resistant infections is 700,000, yet this figure is expected to grow more than 10-fold by 2050. Although the rapid administration of antibiotics to treat infections often reduces morbidity and saves the lives of many patients each year, it has also been shown that up to 40% of all antibiotics prescribed are either unnecessary or inappropriate, which contributes to the growing problem of antibiotic resistance.

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Wound Culture

By the WoundSource Editors

All wounds are complex non-sterile environments, often requiring a succession of intersecting phases of wound healing to repair completely. When epithelial tissue is compromised by a wound, contamination by common skin surface microbes may result in infection or the formation of a biofilm that impedes healing. Although systemic antibiotics are necessary for treating clinically infected wounds, the use of antibiotics and antiseptics in non-healing, non-infected wounds is debated.

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Antimicrobial Stewardship

By The WoundSource Editors

Antimicrobial stewardship is becoming an increasing concern for nearly all clinical professionals. Antimicrobial resistance is often considered one of the most serious health threats of the 21st century. It is estimated that currently approximately 700,000 people die each year of drug-resistant infections, and experts predict that this figure could increase to 10 million deaths each year by 2050. On a global scale, antimicrobial resistance compromises the ability of clinicians to treat infectious diseases and thereby undermines many of the recent advances in modern medicine.

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Frequently Asked Questions

By Thomas E. Serena, MD, FACS

Conceived in the operating theater and born in the home, surgical site infections (SSIs) reach maturity in the outpatient wound clinic. The woundologist, whether surgically trained or not, must understand the prevention and treatment of SSIs and wound dehiscence. For the past two years I have had the honor of giving the SSI lecture for the WoundSource Practice Accelerator™. This year listeners had more questions than I could answer on the call or address individually. I decided to dedicate this blog to the most frequently asked questions from the October presentation.

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How Being a Wound Specialist Can Help You Survive a Werewolf or Vampire Bite

By Emily Greenstein, APRN, CNP, CWON, FACCWS

It’s that time of year again. For the leaves to change, all the ghouls and goblins to come alive, and for a sudden influx of sugar! After the success of last year's blog post "How Being a Wound Specialist Can Help You Survive a Zombie Apocalypse," I knew I had to do another Halloween-themed post. In my practice I have seen an influx of animals bites this summer, which got me to thinking, what if you were bitten by a werewolf or vampire?

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Skin Tear Protocol

Holly M. Hovan MSN, APRN, ACNS-BC, CWOCN-AP

Payne and Martin brought skin tears to the attention of wound and skin specialists and to the wound care community when they reported an incidence rate of 2.23% in individuals aged 55 years and older, living in a long-term care facility. A skin tear is "a wound caused by shear, friction, and/or blunt force resulting in a separation of skin layers." Skin tears may be partial- or full-thickness wounds, develop into chronic wounds without proper treatment and follow-up, and, most importantly, are preventable.

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biofilm development stages

by the WoundSource Editors

Advancements in molecular microbiology, microscopy technology, and techniques for study of bacteria have increased the ability to identify the existence of biofilms, but there still remains the unknown, such as differentiating between planktonic bacteria and biofilm.1 Chronic non-healing wounds harbor bacteria across the wound etiology classification.2–4 Malone et al. determined that the prevalence of biofilms in chronic wounds was 78.2% (confidence interval, 61.6–89, P < 0.002).2 The development of biofilms moves through a common pattern: attachment, microcolony formation, maturation, and dispersion. The initial attachment is reversible, but the attachment becomes stronger as cells multiply and change their gene expressions. This cell communication process is referred to as quorum sensing, allowing cells to survive.