What is a wound vac and how does it work?

A wound vac in use treating a bed sore on the coccyxA wound vac (also referred to negative pressure wound therapy) is a machine used to treat advanced bed sores.  A wound vac uses a pump to suction fluids from bed sores or other wounds that are difficult to heal on their own.  An airtight, vacuum chamber is created by draping a polyurethane material over the entire surface area of the wound while a foam-type material is packed into the wound itself. A pump is them attached to this area to draw moisture from the wound itself.  The pump acts as a vacuum to draw the excess fluids from the wound and collect them into a chamber.

In 2000, the FDA approved wound vacs for use in bed sore patients.  Studies have demonstrated that use of wound vacs helps the wounds heal faster and reduce the incidence of infection.  In situations where a wound vac is used, patients tended to have enhanced granulation of tissue formation, decreased bacteria and increases in cutaneous perfusion and oxygen tension compared with residents where the procedure was not used.

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