Chronic Wounds

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Paula Erwin-Toth, RN, MSN, FAAN

Hello to my wound care colleagues around the world. As I write this blog, the news relating to the results of COVID-19 continues to provide evidence of the profound impact this pandemic has had on those suffering from the disease and the negative impact shut downs and quarantines have had on the health of people with chronic illnesses. We, as health care providers, are under tremendous stress as many of us have been re-deployed to maintain and support the overwhelming challenges of front-line health care providers serving patients with COVID-19. We, too, are on the front lines helping to maintain skin integrity in critically ill patients who are often intubated and placed in the prone position. The physical, emotional, and financial strains on patients, health care providers, businesses, and governments are going to affect us for years to come.

Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine's picture

By Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine Journal Review Club

Venous leg ulcerations (VLUs) are a common and often chronic pathology, and these wounds diminish the quality of life and increase the financial burden for affected patients. A recent article estimates that up to 3% of the U.S. population suffer from VLUs. A venous leg ulcer can be severely painful and may decrease a patient’s quality of life by affecting sleep, mobility, activities of daily living, and even result in social isolation. A 1994 paper proposed that approximately 65% of patients felt financially affected by a VLU, and this number is likely to have increased as a result of rising healthcare costs. The prevalence and chronic nature of the venous leg ulceration has motivated physicians to research novel techniques to heal ulcers successfully and in a timely manner.
Acellular dermal matrices have been utilized to treat diabetic foot ulcers with favorable outcomes.4 This study investigated the efficacy of a specific acellular dermal matrix for VLUs.

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WoundSource Practice Accelerator's picture

By the WoundSource Editors

Chronic wounds pose an ongoing challenge for clinicians, and there needs to be a clearer understanding of the pathophysiology of wound chronicity and treatment modalities available.

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Wound Healing During COVID

By Christine Miller DPM, PhD

It is an understatement to say that these are trying and uncertain times, as we ride this unpredictable wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. All of us in wound healing as part of the greater health care force are deemed essential, so we cannot "shelter in place." As health care workers, we have to balance our duty to render care with that of protecting ourselves, a tricky tightrope balancing act. The media coverage of this pandemic is constant and anxiety producing, but it has made me ponder the term essential and what that truly means to our patients.

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Frequently Asked Questions

By Windy Cole, DPM

In my recent WoundSource webinar, I discussed the topic of diabetic foot ulcers (DFUs) and using advanced therapies to encourage their healing. The webinar is still available for viewing on WoundSource.com. Chronic lower extremity wounds present significant challenges with regard to effective wound management. Ischemia, microcirculatory dysfunction and peripheral vascular disease cause limitations in blood flow that can delay the healing process.

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By the WoundSource Editors

Conservative sharp debridement: Conservative sharp debridement is done outside the operating room, and although it removes necrotic tissue and debris, it is not as aggressive a procedure as surgical sharp debridement.

Eschar: Eschar is dead tissue and is found only in full- thickness wounds. It may be tan, brown, or black.

Fibroblasts: Fibroblasts have several roles in wound healing, including breaking down fibrin clots, creating new extracellular matrix and collagen structures, and contracting the wound.

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By the WoundSource Editors

Advanced Treatment Modalities: Wound care interventions that are typically applied when standard of care treatments have failed to lead to significant wound closure progress. Treatments include collagen products, cellular and/or tissue-based products, negative pressure wound therapy, hyperbaric oxygen, and others.

Cellular and/or Tissue-Based Products: Cellular and/or tissue-based products (CTPs) actively promote healing by stimulating the patient’s own cells to regenerate healthy tissue.

Collagen: Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body. In wound healing, collagen attracts fibroblasts and encourages the deposition of new collagen to the wound bed.

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The Inflammatory Phase of Wound Healing

By the WoundSource Editors

Wound healing is a complex biological process that involves a sequence of molecular and cellular events to restore damaged tissue. These events occur within the extracellular matrix, a complex three-dimensional acellular environment that is present within all tissue and essential for life. Remodeling within this extracellular matrix is necessary for tissue repair throughout the wound healing process, including during the inflammatory phase.

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Wound Reepithelialization

By the WoundSource Editors

Wound reepithelialization is key in the goal of wound closure. Reepithelialization is a coordinated multifactorial systemic process that involves formation of new epithelium and skin appendages. The epithelialization process can be stalled by a number of factors, all of which must be resolved before wound healing can move forward.

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Preventing Wound Chronicity

By the WoundSource Editors

Wound chronicity is defined as any wound that is physiologically impaired due to a disruption in the wound healing cascade: 1) hemostasis, 2) inflammation, 3) proliferation, and 4) maturation/remodeling. To effectively manage chronic wounds, we must understand the normal healing process and wound bed preparation (WBP). Wound chronicity can occur due to impaired angiogenesis, innervation, or cellular migration. The presence of biofilm and infection are the most common causes of delayed healing.