PURPOSE: Antimicrobial wound dressings are becoming more popular and are routinely used in the treatment of chronic and problematic wounds. Despite the ever-growing number and types of these antimicrobial products, many practitioners often do not report significant clinical differences between various common antimicrobial wound dressings despite wide variations in cost. Although these dressings use different active ingredients or different presentations of a particular active ingredient, all attempt to protect the wound from bacterial colonization and promote wound repair. With so many topical antimicrobial dressings to choose from in the clinical setting (many having already fallen into disfavor due to their cytotoxic characteristics) it was of prime interest to determine if there was a substantial difference between some of the more commonly used antimicrobial dressings, with silver versus an antimicrobial wound dressing using Oakin (oak extract [Amerx Health Care Corporation, Clearwater, Florida]) as the active ingredient.
METHODS: This article compares the antimicrobial efficacy of 4 commonly used wound dressings in vitro, utilizing a corrected zone of inhibition test followed by a cost analysis.
RESULTS: In vitro testing demonstrated that there were no substantial differences in the corrected zone of inhibition measurements between the silver wound dressings and the less expensive Oakin-impregnated gauze dressing.
CONCLUSION: Despite obvious limitations of this study, these results suggest that the biggest differences between many antimicrobial dressings on the market may be more in cost than in antimicrobial efficacy. The differences in cost are due to variances in cost per application and frequency of applications per week.