To assess the efficacy of negative-pressure wound therapy (NPWT) for healing of pressure ulcers (PrUs) in individuals with spinal-cord injury (SCI).
Multicenter, 28-day observational study.
Ten Veterans Affairs Medical Center SCI centers.
Eighty-six SCI inpatients with Stage III/IV pelvic PrUs.
Standard wound care with NPWT versus standard wound care alone (NoNPWT).
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:
Change in wound surface area (WSA) using the Verg Videometer Measurement Documentation software.
The proportion of patients demonstrating a decrease in WSA (healing subgroup) was not significantly different between the NPWT (n = 33) and NoNPWT (n = 53) groups (67% vs 70%, respectively). In the healing subgroup, there was no significant difference between the NPWT versus NoNPWT groups in WSA decrease (−43 ± 22% vs −50% ± 26%, not statistically significant). Similarly, in the nonhealing subgroup, there was no significant difference between NPWT and NoNPWT groups (31% ± 26% vs 32% ± 34%). In the NPWT group, the nonhealing subgroup (11/33) had significantly lower serum albumin levels than the healing subgroup (22/33) (2.9 ± 0.4 vs 3.3 ± 0.5 mg/dL, P < .05). In the NoNPWT group, there was no significant difference in serum albumin levels between the healing versus nonhealing subgroups (3.2 ± 0.3 vs 3.2 ± 0.3 mg/dL).
In SCI patients with Stage III/IV pelvic PrUs, NPWT did not significantly influence the rate of healing. Additionally, in malnourished individuals (albumin <3.0 mg/dL), NPWT was not efficacious. Healing outcomes in the NPWT group were significantly influenced by albumin levels, whereas no such disparity was noted between the healing and nonhealing PrUs for the NoNPWT group. Nutritional status appears to be important in the effectiveness of NPWT.