Gerit D. Mulder, DPM, MS; Joseph P. Cavorsi, MD; Daniel K. Lee, DPM


Wounds. 2007;19(7):173-182. 

In This Article


A greater understanding of the role bacteria plays in the wound matrix repair process is resulting in an increasingly important role for antimicrobial dressings and products used in chronic wound care. The differences between various antimicrobial components and dressings require that clinicians have a basic understanding of different antimicrobial agents and their role in tissue repair before selecting the most appropriate dressing for a wound. The introduction of noncytotoxic levels of antimicrobial agents, including silver and PHMB, provides a means to potentially decrease levels of bacterial colonization that may impede closure while providing dressings that may assist with the development of a wound environment conducive to tissue repair, and ultimately, successful wound closure. Currently, PHMB does not have a history of resistance or cytotoxicity, has demonstrated promotion of healing,[33] and may play a new and important role as an antimicrobial agent in dressings. The need for decreased frequency of dressing changes, dressing tolerance, and ease-of-use are factors, which are equally important when selecting an appropriate antimicrobial dressing.

The limited amount of information on the ability of antimicrobial dressings to significantly affect the healing process and wound closure supports the need for well designed and adequately powered clinical trials to determine the true role of these devices in the treatment of chronic wounds. Current information and publications indicate a potential benefit regarding the use of these products in wounds where bacterial burden may be delaying or impeding wound closure.


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