Negative Pressure Wound Therapy - does it really help ??



I am interested in learning more about Negative pressure wound therapy. Does it really improve the healing of open wounds / sores ? Does anyone have experience with this type of therapy ? Is there any clinical data to suggest such ? Apparently it speeds up healing and can mean less dressing changes...

It's all new to me and I'm keen to hear your thoughts.


1 Article; 268 Posts

We just had a guest speaker come today and talked about that very topic! (I'm in nursing school). She's an expert on wound care. It was really neat to see the before/after photos and learn how it works and the situations in which you would use this. From hearing about her experiences, it's not appropriate in all care but it certainly is useful in many areas. On one photo there was a pt with a deep, very large scalp wound and the skin graft had failed. The speaker said the doctor did not wait for the wound to be ready to receive the graft. She put negative pressure on the wound (showed that photo of how she did it-- over half the pt. skull it seemed!) and then in the next photo was some lovely granulation tissue over the entire wound so it was now ready for the skin graft. There were some other very dramatic photos that made a believer out of me.

annaedRN, RN

519 Posts

Specializes in LTC/hospital, home health (VNA). Has 10 years experience.

in a word - yes! I have used wound NPWT (usually and preferably wound VACs by KCI) many, many times. Barring any complications or patient's not tolerating the treatment - I have seen wounds heal in weeks versus months with traditional wound care. You can look at KCIs website. I find them amazing if properly done!!


661 Posts

Specializes in acute rehab, med surg, LTC, peds, home c. Has 16 years experience.

It works amazingly well. The silver sponge kills pathogens while the suction wicks away all the exudate. You only change it every 3 days, its great. I used one on a big dehised abd wound and it was almost healed in a matter of weeks. It was a huge deep wound.

tewdles, RN

3,156 Posts

Specializes in PICU, NICU, L&D, Public Health, Hospice. Has 31 years experience.

They are very effective when used correctly. They are often used in home care settings and not so often in hospice.


1 Article; 2,334 Posts

Google the term wound vac.

You'll find a lot of excellent information.

Specializes in Med/Surg, Home Health.

I have had many patients with wound vac therapy and had great results. It speeds up the healing process and suctions out the drainage/infection, etc. but now I have a patient who has been on a wound vac for several weeks with minimal improvement. So it kinda depends on the patient, the diagnosis, what's been tried before, etc. But in most cases, they work wonders. I love them, especially KCI brand.


147 Posts

Very expensive though. Rents for over $5,000 a month plus supplies.

Specializes in Med/Surg, Home Health.

yep, VERY expensive. here, its $6000 per month to rent (my patient showed me his bill today, lol) He was very upset about it.

Specializes in ICU, PICC Nurse, Nursing Supervisor. Has 20 years experience.

let me second the mother has one now and is suppose to go home with one but medicare covers all but the 20% co-pay which i was just told is $500 a we wont be going home with a wound vac

mamamerlee, LPN

949 Posts

Specializes in home health, dialysis, others. Has 35 years experience.

As a home care nurse, all I can say is YES it is worth every penny. Wounds that used to take months to heal, with sometimes multiple dressings/day now heal in a few weeks with 3x/WEEK dressing changes. It does require a high degree of compliance from the pt and family, but when they go along with it the healing time is just phenomenal.

I have seen decubs that just kept getting worse with traditional therapy close up in very little time. Huge belly wounds - sucked down to managable.

txspadequeen - find the money somewhere. It is very well spent. Compare the costs to that of traditional therapy.

NicuGal, MSN, RN

2,743 Posts

Specializes in NICU, PICU, PACU. Has 30 years experience.

We have used them on difficult closures of open gut defects....they work wonderfully! We ended up keeping the one kid because the insurance wouldn't pay for it for home care...that is, let's keep this kid here and see how long it takes for him to get an infection, hospital acquired of course! Ugh!