The management of exudate is an essential aspect of wound care. The wound bed must remain moist to promote healing, but care must be taken to remove excess fluid to avoid maceration and subsequent breakdown of the periwound site, which could serve as a possible portal to infection. Excess fluid is typically absorbed into and/or evaporates through the wound dressing or may be managed by a powered vacuum-assisted closure device. Although the moisture vapor permeability has been studied for dressings, the rate of evaporation associated with wound’s immediate treatment environment, or dressing/treatment surface interface, has not been addressed to date. It is essential for caregivers to have an understanding of how these 2 interventions work together in order to provide optimal care to the wound patient. The purpose of this study was to provide estimates of evaporative withdrawal rates for various wound dressings and therapeutic support surfaces.
The authors’ study provides estimates of evaporative withdrawal rates for various wound dressings and therapeutic support surfaces.
Charlie Lachenbruch, PhD, is Biomedical Engineering Specialist, and Catherine VanGilder, MBA, BS, MT, CCRA, is Manager, Clinical Research, Hill-Rom, in Batesville, Indiana.
The authors disclose they have small shares of stock in Hill-Rom.
Acknowledgments: The authors acknowledge the contributions of Rachel Williamson, BS Biomedical Engineering, for her many hours spent collecting and analyzing surface performance data and Wendy Christian, RN, who asked the original research question and provided input throughout the study process. Vicky Essery, RN, also provided significant assistance with a number of clinical questions that arose during the study.
The authors are employees of Hill-Rom and the study was conducted using Hill-Rom equipment and funding.
There were no other sources of funding.
Submitted: August 12, 2010; accepted in revised form March 8, 2011.