Burn wounds are a significant cause of morbidity and mortality, and improved outcomes are demonstrated with early closure of both primary burn wounds and skin donor sites. Thus, technology that decreases the healing time of burns and donor sites would be potentially lifesaving. We present the results of a single-center, prospective, double-blinded, randomized controlled trial to evaluate the efficacy of silver-coated dressing with active microcurrent in comparison to silver-coated dressing with sham microcurrent on wound-closure time for autogenous skin donor sites.
Four hundred five patients were screened for treatment of their donor sites using a silver-coated nylon dressing with either sham or active microcurrent stimulation. Thirty patients were enrolled in the study and then randomized. Of these, 5 patients were removed from analysis due to protocol deviations. Differences in time-to-closure were analyzed using Kaplan-Meier analysis and the proportional hazard regression model. Subjective verbal pain rating scores (0–10; 0, no pain; 10, worst pain) were also recorded. All devices were blinded and programmed at an outside facility, so that every patient had either an active or sham device. The study was unblinded only after the final patient’s donor site had healed. All patients achieved donor-site healing before postoperative day 20. The 14 patients in the active microcurrent group [mean, 10.8 (2.9) days; range, 7–15 days] experienced no difference in time to wound healing as compared to the remaining patients in the sham microcurrent group [mean, 11.1 (2.0) days; range, 8–14 days; P = 0.75]. There were no differences in pain from one group compared to the other. None of the donor sites exhibited clinical signs of infection.
In a sample size of 25 burn patients, the addition of direct microcurrent to silver-nylon dressings did not decrease time to wound closure of skin donor sites, and it did not show a difference in reported pain levels.
From the US Army Institute of Surgical Research, Fort Sam Houston, TX.
Received April 10, 2013, and accepted for publication, after revision, May 22, 2013.
The opinions or assertions contained herein are the private views of the authors, and are not to be construed as official or as reflecting the views of the Department of the Army or the Department of Defense.
This study was registered with clinicaltrials.gov (NCT 00558701).
Conflicts of interest and sources of funding: Funded by the Clinical Trials Task Area, Combat Casualty Care Research Program, US Army Medical Research and Material Command, Fort Detrick, MD.
Reprints: Leopoldo C. Cancio, MD, US Army Institute of Surgical Research, 3698 Chambers Pass, Fort Sam Houston, TX. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.